Defining Embezzlement Under Federal Law
The federal government makes it illegal for any person to steal, embezzle, or otherwise take federal property—which can entail money, vehicles, vouchers, and/or office equipment—without permission under 18 U.S.C. §641. This statute makes no distinction between the circumstances that lead to the theft.
Furthermore, this statute applies to both direct theft from the federal government and theft committed against companies that are conducting government business. For example, if a government contractor is working to fulfill an order, any theft from that contractor related to government property that they are creating could be considered a theft from the government according to the statute. A Syracuse federal embezzlement attorney could provide further clarification about the precise circumstances that could lead to a federal criminal charge for embezzlement.
Federal Punishments for Embezzlement Convictions
The range of sentencing for a federal embezzlement conviction depends on the value of the items allegedly taken. The offense is a misdemeanor whenever the value of the item is $1,000 or less. A conviction here could result in a maximum jail sentence of one year and the payment of a fine. In addition, the defendant may be ordered to pay restitution to the government for the value of the property.
When the value of the item exceeds $1,000, however, a federal court would consider the offense a felony. This increases the potential prison sentence to a maximum of ten years. Additional fines and restitution orders may still apply as well.