An individual who obtained money or services through alleged false pretenses may face an embezzlement charge. A false statement of fact regarding a past, present or future event could result in a felony charge, according to the North Carolina General Assembly.
An embezzlement charge generally does not require proof that a defendant violated a position of trust such as employment. He or she may, for example, have provided details of hardship that caused an organization to provide a benefit based on events that did not actually occur.
Conviction requires proof of false statement and intent to defraud
A prosecutor must provide evidence showing that an individual received valuable benefits, money or goods by supplying false information. Financial statements and verified records from prior jobs or military service may serve to counter a prosecutor’s allegations.
A court may find it difficult to prove a defendant intended to defraud when he or she reasonably believed the information as true. If a prosecutor has undisputable evidence, however, an individual convicted of embezzlement may face serious penalties.
False statements made to VA result in probation and community service
As reported by the Greensboro News & Record, a 73-year-old Cumberland County U.S. Army veteran pleaded guilty to embezzlement. After receiving approximately $1 million worth of health care benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, an investigation determined he made false statements to obtain them. Based on his plea, age and military service, the judge sentenced him to community service and five years of probation. He must also pay more than $900,000 in restitution.
Depending on the circumstances — and the plea entered by the defendant — the penalty for embezzlement may or may not include incarceration. An ability and willingness to remedy the financial loss through restitution may help persuade the court to limit or omit incarceration from the sentencing.