Tough Advocacy for Tennessee Defendants Charged with Embezzlement

Strong representation for criminal defendants in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Greeneville, Seymour, Pigeon Forge and throughout the Tri-Cities region

In Tennessee, there is no direct embezzlement statute. Defendants are either charged with the federal crime of embezzlement or with the Tennessee crime of theft. Embezzlement is considered a white-collar crime because the people who commit it usually have direct access to money or property and the faculty to obtain the property. Embezzlement is a breach of trust. Company employees, corporate officers, trustees, or government officials are some of the usual defendants in embezzlement cases. Some embezzlements are obvious. Others include complicated fraud and deception, “Ponzi” schemes, and other deceptive acts.

Bryan E. Delius, a Sevierville embezzlement lawyer, has more than twenty years of experience fighting for the accused. He understands the fear defendants have of losing their freedom, suffering severe financial loss, and the loss to reputation. Delius & McKenzie guides clients through the arraignment, hearings, negotiations, and jury trials. We also understand how important it is for criminal defendants to seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Delay can mean loss of evidence and statements, which can hurt the defendant’s case. We work tirelessly to achieve a just result, which can include dropping or reducing the charges. Put your trust in one of the experienced Sevierville embezzlement lawyers at our firm.

The key elements of the crime of embezzlement

Embezzlement is a unique form of theft. It can take place in one instant, such as when a store employee steals money from a cash register. It can also occur over time, such as when an accountant takes money on a monthly basis from a pension fund over several years.

Understanding the criteria for embezzlement is one of the first steps Sevierville embezzlement attorneys take in preparing a defense. There are four key elements the prosecution must demonstrate to prove embezzlement:

  • A fiduciary relationship. This means the person who took the money or property was entrusted with the asset by another person, organization, or company.
  • Acquisition through the fiduciary relationship. This factor requires that the position of trust enabled the taking of the asset. It is the fiduciary relationship that gives the wrongdoer the opportunity to seize the asset as opposed to the use of force, illegal entry, or some other means.
  • A transfer. The ownership of the asset has to be transferred to someone else. The asset can be transferred to the person with the fiduciary relationship. A transfer to a third person such as a relative or co-worker can also meet this requirement.
  • An intentional act. The defendant must have intended to transfer the asset through the fiduciary relationship. Negligence or the act of another, without the defendant’s knowledge, is not enough to prove embezzlement intent.

Federal and Tennessee state embezzlement law

The federal statute for embezzlement is set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 656. Residents in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, and Pigeon Forge will either be charged under the federal statute or the Tennessee theft statute. Federal cases have different rules, different judges, and draw their jury panels from different jury pools than state courts. An experienced Sevierville embezzlement attorney at Delius & McKenzie, PLLC has the skills to try jury cases in both federal and state courts.

Defenses in embezzlement cases

Defendants in all criminal cases, including embezzlement cases, have rights established by the Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments to the US Constitution. These rights include the right to a speedy, public, impartial trial and the right to confront witnesses in court. The Constitution also protects defendants against improper search and seizures and by holding that defendants have the right not to incriminate themselves.

Delius & McKenzie, PLLC also works to show that one or more of the key elements of embezzlement cannot be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Some of the defense strategies a skilled Sevierville embezzlement attorney argues are that there was:

  • No fiduciary relationship. The less authority an employee in a company has, the less likely the fiduciary relationship existed. A government official who is elected is more likely to be considered a fiduciary than a government clerk. When appropriate, we argue that the job description did not create a fiduciary relationship.
  • No intent. Our office may be able to show that the person who took the asset had a reasonable belief that he or she had an ownership interest in the asset. We may argue that the intent was to return the item. How the asset was seized is often a determining factor. If an item was taken in secret, that suggests intent. More public takings indicate a lack of intent.

Skilled criminal defense lawyers offering aggressive representation across Tennessee

Delius & McKenzie, PLLC offers aggressive representation to clients charged with embezzlement in Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Seymour, Pigeon Forge, Greeneville, Bristol, Kingsport, or Johnson City. We fight hard to have your charges dropped or reduced when dropping them is not possible. To make an appointment with an experienced Sevierville embezzlement defense lawyer, please call 865-428-8780 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. Our team offers in-custody visits.