What constitutes employee theft is any act that robs your employer of time, money, products, or services. If you commit an act of employee theft, the company you work for can terminate your employment. In addition to losing your job, you can also face arrest, conviction, and the consequences that result from both.
Employee theft is a serious crime that can cost you your job and freedom. When our criminal defense lawyer is on your side, we can help you prove you did not commit the act in question. We can also help you reach a plea agreement that may help you preserve your good name and community standing. A plea agreement can also help you avoid a blemish on your employment record and future background checks.
Criminal Acts That Constitute Employee Theft
Employee theft can happen in many forms. Apparent acts of fraud, including check-kiting and switching price tags (for yourself or for friends and family), are acts of thievery. Additional actions that can be construed as employee theft include:
- Secreting or stealing property
- Getting paid for time you did not work
- Stealing supplies and merchandise
Stealing information that can cause your employer harm is another form of employee theft. According to an Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) report, employers lose as much as 5 percent of their annual revenue to various forms of employee theft.
Pilferage occurs when employees steal low-value objects in small amounts. This can include everything from pens to printers.
Embezzlement occurs when employees steal money or property they were charged with caring for.
Theft of Time
Theft of time occurs when an employee manipulates their or a coworker’s hours to receive more compensation than they actually earned.
Theft of Services
Theft of services includes providing unauthorized discounts to friends and family. It can also include using employer’s services without paying for them.
Penalties for Employee Theft
Theft of small items can seem insignificant in the moment but can have long-term consequences. If you are arrested or convicted of employee theft, you could face significant time in jail or prison. Depending on the monetary value of the alleged theft, you could:
- Be charged with a misdemeanor that can result in criminal fines and penalties
- Be charged with a felony, which can carry stiffer penalties, including higher fines and longer sentences
A criminal defense lawyer in your area who is familiar with state and local laws can help you avoid your state’s harshest penalties and highest fines.
Additional Consequences of Employee Theft
In addition to criminal penalties, a conviction on charges of theft can affect your life in many ways. Some consequences you might face after an arrest or a conviction include:
- Difficulty obtaining certain types of employment
- Inability to obtain various professional licenses
- Difficulty obtaining housing in certain areas
- Difficulty obtaining student loans to further your education
A theft conviction can label you as untrustworthy, which can damage your reputation in your personal, professional, and social life. A criminal defense lawyer can help you minimize this damage.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You Survive a Theft Accusation
Defending yourself when facing a criminal charge can be risky. You do not have to defend yourself without legal support. A criminal defense lawyer can benefit your case in myriad ways. These can include:
- Reviewing the case against you
- Reviewing the evidence against you
- Proving you were a victim of entrapment
- Locating and interviewing witnesses that support your innocence
- Proving your employer’s accusations are retaliatory
- Locating surveillance photos and video footage
Because the penalties you face can vary according to the value of the stolen items, your lawyer can prove their actual value. If you maintain your innocence, your lawyer can help you establish and document your whereabouts at the time the theft occurred.
A Lawyer Can Help You Benefit from a Plea Bargain
When you work with a criminal defense lawyer, they can help you negotiate a plea bargain with your employer or with the state’s prosecutor. A plea bargain can:
- Reduce the severity of the charges you face
- Lead to a reduced sentence if convicted
- Lead to lighter financial penalties and fines
- Avoid a blemish on your employment history
The benefits of a plea bargain also include letting you avoid the uncertainty of a trial outcome. It lets you exercise a measure of control over your immediate and upcoming future.
Call Us Today for Your Free Consultation
If you were accused of any criminal offense that constitutes employee theft, you do not have to fight back on your own. Our criminal defense lawyer can help you prove your innocence or build a solid defense. When we represent you, we ensure you can reach your lawyer at any time.
You can learn more about how we can help you build a strategic defense plan by contacting one of our McKenzie Law Firm, P.C., team members at (610) 991-7219 today.