Theft is a simple word that encompasses a wide range of activity in which one person takes something that belongs to another. A theft may occur under what may be considered violent circumstances, or a theft may occur in a business or corporate setting when a person entrusted with managing money or property misappropriates it to their own use. The latter situation is often referred to as embezzlement.
In Louisiana, the state considers embezzlement a theft and prosecutes it under the statute covering misappropriation without violence. To convict a person of this crime the prosecution must prove the person took or misappropriated something of value from another person, either without consent, or by fraudulent means, practices or representations. To be found guilty of such a crime, the alleged perpetrator must have the intent to deprive the other person of the asset permanently.
The potential penalties for a person convicted of the corporate crime of embezzlement are harsh, despite the non-violent nature of the act, or acts. If the amount taken totals $25,000 or more, a person may face a minimum prison sentence of five years and a maximum sentence of 20 years, plus a fine of $50,000. A person who is convicted of taking more than $5,000 but less than $25,000 may face a prison sentence of up to 10 years, plus a fine of $10,000. Embezzlement of a sum totaling between $750 and $5,000 may lead to a prison sentence of up to five years and a $3,000 fine, and if a person is convicted of embezzling less than $750, he or she may face a prison sentence of up to 6 months, as well as a fine of $1,000.
A person who is being investigated for embezzlement, or who has already been charged with this crime, may benefit from seeking prompt guidance from an attorney. It is important to be aware of what avenues investigators are pursuing and prepare a defense that speaks to any allegations and charges brought.
Source: Louisiana State Legislature, “Louisiana Revised Statute Sec 14:67“, accessed Oct. 9, 2015