The Crime of Embezzlement in Illinois
Embezzlement in Illinois is a specific type of a white-collar crime that falls under the theft statute codified at 720 ILCS 5/16-1. While all theft crimes involve taking something from another person what makes embezzlement in Illinois unique is the relationship between the person taking and the person whose property was taken. In all embezzlement cases, whether under federal or Illinois law, requires that the defendant in the embezzlement case to have legal access to the victim’s property.
Legal Access to Property in Embezzlement
Embezzlement requires a relationship between the defendant and the victim where the defendant has access to the victim’s money or property but legal ownership still remains with the victim. Most often these types of situations arise when a fiduciary duty exists between the parties or at the very least the defendant is in a position of trust. For example, embezzlement can occur when an elderly person signs a power of attorney to a family member to manage his or her affairs and instead the family member spends the elderly person’s money on personal items. Embezzlement can also occur when a home buyer gives her realtor money as escrow but instead the realtor deposits the money in his personal account.
Embezzlement can occur in every imaginable situation. However, what distinguishes embezzlement from other theft crimes is always the fact that the victims provided access to their property to the defendant and the thief uses that access for personal gain.
Sentencing in Embezzlement Cases in Illinois
The type of punishment available to a court in sentencing an embezzlement defendant varies depending upon the nature of the offense but most importantly about the dollar value of the amount embezzled and the defendant’s prior criminal background.
Embezzlement in Illinois of less than $500
Embezzlement of less than $500 is generally a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois punishable by a sentence of up to 1 year in a county jail. However, if the embezzlement was committed in a school or place of worship or if the theft was of governmental property than the embezzlement charge would be a Class 4 felony punishable up to 3 years in prison.
A person convicted of embezzlement could also face a Class 4 felony regardless of the amount embezzled if the defendant has a previous conviction of any type of theft, robbery, armed robbery, burglary, residential burglary, possession of burglary tools, home invasion, forgery, any crime relating to the possession of a stolen or converted motor vehicle, or any violation of the Illinois Credit Card and Debit Card Act.
Embezzlement of $500-$9,999
A person convicted of embezzlement of property between $500 and less than $10,000 is guilty of a Class 3 Felony that is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. However, if the victim was a school or place of worship than the punishment is enhanced to a Class 2 Felony that is punishable by up to 7 years in prison.
Embezzlement of $10,000-$99,999
Any one convicted of embezzlement of property valued at $10,000 or greater and less than $100,000 is guilty of a Class 2 Felony. However, if the victim was a school or place of worship than the punishment is enhanced to a Class 1 Felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
Embezzlement of $100,000-$499,999
Embezzlement of property is a Class 1 Felony when the defendant is found guilty of embezzlement of $100,000 or more but less than $500,000. Again, if the victim is a school or place of worship than the punishment is increased to a Class X offense which is punishable by up to 30 years in prison.
Embezzlement of $500,000-$999,999
Embezzlement of property in excess of $500,000 but less than a million dollars is a non-probationable Class 1 Felony.
Embezzlement of one million dollars or more is a Class X offense.
Any one convicted of embezzlement in excess of $1,000,000 is guilty of a Class X felony punishable between 6-30 years in prison.
A charge of embezzlement in Illinois is a very serious matter that requires an attorney that is proactive and aggressive. Whether at trial or on appeal, Jaleel Law P.C. has the experience to win.