Because the nature behind many white collar offenses is so similar, it can be difficult to know the difference between each. To help with this, we’ve come up with 4 major differences between two common white collar crimes: embezzlement and fraud.
1.Embezzlement Directly Involves a Business
Embezzlement is the illegal diversion of funds away from a company or business. This crime typically involves altering the income of the business and falsifying reports to the IRS. Fraud, on the other hand, refers to receiving information or money from a subject under false pretenses (such as a fake email asking for your bank account) and does not necessarily involve a business.
2.Fraud Sells with False Pretenses
Fraud tricks a subject by using false advertising in order to receive funds or information. The subject of the crime voluntarily gives up the information because they’re unaware the advertising is false. Embezzlement, however, does not involve selling or advertising to a subject. Rather, it refers to stealing funds away from a company directly.
3.Embezzling Involves Fraud, but Fraud Does Not Always Involve Embezzling
The simplest definition of fraud is the falsifying of information. Because embezzling refers to falsifying financial information of a business, it involves an act of financial fraud. But, because it can occur without a business, fraud does not always involve embezzling. A telephone scam asking for your Social Security information is a fraudulent crime but does not include embezzling, whereas a CEO falsifying records to steal the company’s profits is both a case of embezzlement and fraud.
4.Fraud Punishments Are Typically Lesser Than Embezzlement Punishments
As fraud cases involve someone voluntarily offering information or money, they are typically handled in civil court and tried as misdemeanor offenses. Fraud is punishable by up to 1 year in California county jail and up to a $10,000 fine. If charged with a felony fraud charge, you could face up to 5 years in prison, and fines twice the amount of your fraud, or $50,000 – whichever amount is greater.
Depending on the severity of the crime, embezzlement can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. As a California misdemeanor, embezzlement is punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. The felony charge can lead to up to 3 years in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. As embezzlement involves financial fraud and can involve additional crimes as well (such as insider trading) an embezzlement sentence is combined with the sentences of the other crimes, resulting in a more severe punishment.
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At The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch, we understand that your reputation means everything. That is why our white collar criminal defense attorney is dedicated to defending you. Whether you are facing fraud charges involving a small business or embezzlement with a large corporation, we have the knowledge to represent you. Our lawyer has over 18 years of experience and will fight to defend your rights.
Contact The Law Office of Brian C. Andritch to discuss your case with our Fresno criminal defense attorney.