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White-collar Crime

Types of Embezzlement in New York

What Do New York Embezzlement Laws Say?

Embezzlement, also known as larceny by embezzlement, is the crime of misusing or misappropriating funds over which the offender has some control. Embezzlement charges focus on the fact that the defendant was responsible for taking care of cash or other assets and had no ownership but used the property illegally for their own benefit.

Embezzlement is a white-collar crime, and many statutes punish the crime, with the most frequently used being 18 U.S.C. § 641. The penalties can be stiff depending on the value of the property in question. Contact a skilled Long Island criminal justice attorney for aggressive defense if you’ve been arrested and charged with embezzlement in New York.

What Types of Crime Constitute Embezzlement in New York?

The easiest way to understand larceny by embezzlement is to look at it as unlawfully taking someone’s property to deprive them of it or withholding it. In the context of embezzlement, property refers to money obtained through various means, such as:

  • Skimming cash
  • Unapproved wire transfers
  • Improper use of a credit card
  • Obtaining funds through fraudulent checks and manipulated financial documents

The penalties for embezzlement upon a conviction can be severe. Hiring a skilled Long Island white-collar crime defense attorney can enhance your chances of fighting the charges successfully. Criminal defense lawyers know how the system works and can help you navigate the complex matters that could risk your freedom and future.

Levels of Embezzlement

Larceny by embezzlement differs from simply not repaying a debt. The Court of Appeals in New York explains that there must be a clear distinction between failure to pay a valid debt and the crime of embezzlement.

The degree of the severity of the crime depends on the amount of money in question:

  • First-degree grand larceny: First-degree grand larceny is the most severe embezzlement crime. It is a Class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison if the funds embezzled exceed $1,000,000
  • Second-degree grand theft: It is a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison if the money involved is more than $50,000 but not more than $1,000,000
  • Third-degree grand theft: It is a Class D felony punishable by up to seven years in prison if the embezzlement involves more than $3,000 but not more than $50,000
  • Fourth-degree grand larceny: The crime is a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in prison if the amount is more than $1,000 but not more than $3,000

A prosecutor may aggregate multiple thefts over extended periods to enhance the degree of the severity of the charges to increase your penalties. An aggressive white-collar crime defense lawyer in Long Island can help you understand the gravity of the charges and help you create a strong defense strategy to protect your rights.

Embezzlement Related Offenses

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your case, you may also face other charges closely related to larceny by embezzlement:

Possessing Stolen Property

New York also recognizes another type of embezzlement in the form of possession of stolen property, in this case, money. The crime will be aggregated even if you don’t have the money in your account or have perpetrated the offense over a few years.

For example, if you have six counts of stealing $10,000, the offense won’t be classified as six Class D felonies but one Class C felony involving more than $50,000. Additionally, the court may impose six counts of forgery and falsifying business records in the first degree under classes D and E, respectively.

You don’t need to have the money physically to be prosecuted. The amount is aggregated over the time you embezzled the funds.

Falsifying Business Records

Falsifying business records can be part of embezzlement charges in New York. The offense happens when you alter business records or delete records and is charged in the first degree. You could also face charges for the crime if you fail to make entries in financial records with the intent to embezzle funds.

If the act is to conceal theft, you could be charged with a first-degree Class E felony. The crime is punishable by one to four years in prison for each count of falsified business records.

Possession of a Forged Instrument

The crime is similar to forgery, but the offense is being in possession of a manipulated document. It is a Class D felony charged in the second degree.

Offering a False Instrument for Filing

Offering a false instrument for filing with the intent to defraud a public office is another crime under larceny with embezzlement. The law classifies it as a first-degree offense under Class E Felonies.

All these crimes related to embezzlement are felonies, not misdemeanors. You risk imprisonment in state prison for more than one year if convicted. You need to fight to protect your rights and reduce the chances of incarceration. Aggressive white-collar crime lawyers in Long Island can come to your defense.

An Aggressive Criminal Defense Lawyer Defending You Against Embezzlement Charges

If you face embezzlement charges in New York, you risk hefty penalties, including incarceration. Understanding how embezzlement law works is vital to help you prepare your defense. Skilled criminal defense lawyers in Long Island can answer all your questions and help you navigate the complex justice system to protect your future.

The Mirsky Law Firm hosts successful white-collar crime defense attorneys who can represent you against arrests and indictments for embezzlement and other crimes. We can assess the evidence against you and help you create a plan of action to challenge the accusations while fighting for the most favorable outcome. Call us at 516-744-1811 to schedule a consultation.

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What is Considered White Collar Crime on Long Island?

White collar crime is one of those terms which is typically only half-understood by the general population. We all know that assaulting somebody is a crime. We all understand that breaking into a house and stealing an individual’s belongings is a crime. But it gets a little bit more confusing when it comes to white collar crime.

That is because these crimes exist on a more technical level. When somebody is assaulted or their house is broken into, they know they were the victim of a crime. But white collar crimes can happen to somebody without them even realizing. It could be that they trusted a financial advisor that led them astray. Typically, the person committing the white collar crime is thought to have been trustworthy. This is important as it plays directly into the origin of this category of crime.

What is White Collar Crime?

The phrase white collar crime was first used in the 1930s by noted criminologist Edwin Sutherland. It was thought at this time that criminals were all of a lower class status. In fact, it was believed that those with a high social status were incapable of committing crimes. But Sutherland coined the phrase white collar crime specifically to refer to those criminals who were otherwise persons of respectability.

Crimes such as assault, robbery, murder, are considered to be clue collar crimes. White collar crimes are more complicated and hard to identify without knowledge of the laws surrounding things like fraud. Because a person is respectable, or seems to be, people are more likely to listen to them and consent to their suggestions. As such, people can end up falling for white collar crimes like fraud without ever having the slightest idea that they’re talking to a criminal.

Nowadays white collar crime doesn’t necessarily denote any distinction of class the way it did in the past. Rather it refers to a crime that is committed either at the level of individuals or corporations in which the crime is financially motivated. With the explosion of the internet, it is hardly surprising that there has been an uptick in white collar crimes as the medium has created new opportunities for the various crimes that fall under the white collar heading.

What Crimes Fall Under the Heading of White Collar Crime?

There is a wide, wide range of crimes that are described as white collar. These can range from petit larceny to coercion, cigarette and tobacco product tax crimes to medicare fraud or even perjury. However, it is easier to get a sense of what constitutes white collar crime by breaking down a few of the more common ones:

  • Fraud: A broad term, fraud covers a range of crimes that look to separate people from their money based on lies. A common fraud scheme is to say that you have a large sum of money for an individual but they must first pay a handler’s fee in order to receive it. There is no large fee and the money they are paying was given on dishonest terms.
  • Ponzi Schemes: This is a scheme in which each individual is promised a large reward but only so long as they get other individuals to join the scheme. Those at the top profit from all those below them but those at the bottom are given no chance to profit except unless they continue the scheme and trick others into joining.
  • Insider Trading: Insider trading occurs when somebody has information they are not supposed to, aka insider information, about the trade. If you know that your company is going to be purchasing another and thereby raising their stock then it would be insider trading to start purchasing shares in the company that is about to raise. Insider trading hedges on whether or not the knowledge used to benefit from financially was public or not.
  • Embezzlement: Another wide ranging form of white collar crime, embezzlement comes down to stealing money from a company. An employee that takes some money out of the till could be guilty of both embezzlement and theft. But there are more complex embezzlement schemes which can defund thousands or even millions of dollars.
  • Identity Theft and Cybercrimes: Identity theft and cybercrimes are on the rise these days as technology makes them easier. Stealing another person’s identity or hacking into a computer system to retrieve resources or information are both white collar computer crimes.
  • Money Laundering: Money laundering is a tactic criminals use to make income from their illegal activities appear to be legal. A legitimate business is used to take in illegal funds so that they then appear to have been acquired legally.
  • Counterfeiting: Counterfeiting is a way of making illegal money that looks like legal tender.
  • Espionage: There are multiple forms of espionage but white collar espionage tends to have a focus on gaining more money, such as when an agent of a foreign government (or competing company) tries to obtain assets of a company through devious means.

How is White Collar Crime Classified?

There are two ways of classifying white collar crime. The first is individual crimes. These are financial crimes that an individual, or a small group of individuals, commits. Hacking, counterfeiting and fraud are all examples of crimes typically classified as individual crimes.

Corporate crimes happen, surprise, on a corporate level. Money laundering can happen on a corporate level, as well as insider trading, espionage or even embezzlement.

What Should I Do if I’m Accused of Committing a White Collar Crime?

White collar crimes should not be taken any less serious than a blue collar crime. You might think a murder charge is far worse than an insider trading charge but white collar crimes can do just as much to rupture your life as a blue collar crime would. You could easily see your life savings lost and your career ruined to the point that nobody in the country wants to hire you.

If you have been accused of a white collar crime then your first step should be to hire an attorney that has knowledge in the field. If you’re looking for the best, then look no further than Mirsky Law Firm. Give us a call at (516) 299-6187 to learn how we can defend you from white collar crime charges.

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New York’s Embezzlement Laws

Embezzlement is a “white collar” crime that is committed when money or property is stolen by someone who was entrusted to hold it – usually someone like an employee or a client.

Could you be framed by a co-worker for embezzlement? Or blamed for the disappearance of money or property that you were entrusted to hold? Keep reading, and you’ll learn the details about New York’s embezzlement laws.

Embezzlement is typically a premeditated and methodical crime.

Embezzlers usually work diligently to conceal embezzlement, often embezzling only a small percentage of the total of the funds or resources they are entrusted with, in order to minimize their risk of detection.

When they’re successful, embezzlers may operate for a number of years without being detected.

If you take money or property without the owner’s permission, and you mean to keep that money or property, it’s theft.

But when you already have temporary possession of someone’s money or property because you have been asked to watch or hold it, and you then decide to steal that money or property, it’s embezzlement.

In New York, theft and embezzlement are both “larceny” and are prosecuted under the state’s larceny statutes.


When the target of embezzlement is a bank or any other institution or agency controlled or owned by the federal government, embezzlement is a federal crime.

Embezzlement in most cases is considered a white-collar crime.

White collar criminals often use accounting methods and computers, and their targets are often banks or other financial institutions, although individuals may also be their victims.

In many cases, an embezzler will falsify or manipulate a victim’s financial records to hide some of the assets or to acquire a portion of those assets for himself or herself.

An accountant, for example, could make it look as if a client’s books are balanced while surreptitiously skimming a percentage of the client’s assets “off the top.”

So that there is no mistake or misunderstanding, state law in New York spells out this definition of “property”: it is “any money, personal property, real property, computer data, computer program, thing in action, evidence of debt or contract, or any article, substance or thing of value, including any gas, steam, water or electricity, which is provided for a charge or compensation.”


What are the potential penalties for someone convicted of embezzlement in the state New York? Petit larceny (petty larceny) is the theft or embezzlement of property valued at less than $1,000.

It’s a misdemeanor, and a convicted offender faces up to one year in jail and a fine of as much as $1,000.

Grand theft is a felony in this state, with the following penalties:

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $1,000 is fourth-degree larceny, a Class E felony. A convicted offender faces up to four years in state prison.

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $3,000 is third-degree larceny, a Class D felony. A convicted offender faces up to seven years in state prison.

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $50,000 is second-degree larceny, a Class C felony. A convicted offender faces up to fifteen years in state prison.

The theft or embezzlement of property valued at more than $1 million is first-degree larceny, a Class B felony. A convicted offender faces up to twenty-five years in prison.

The mandatory minimum prison term for a grand larceny conviction in the state of New York is one year. A convicted embezzler in this state may also be sentenced to pay a fine that is typically twice the value of the stolen or embezzled property.


At the federal level, there is no specific “embezzlement” law, so embezzlement crimes are prosecuted as fraud – mail fraud, wire fraud, securities fraud, or bank fraud.

Those crimes are punishable upon conviction by up to twenty years in a federal prison and by a fine of as much as $250,000.

Anyone who is arrested and charged with embezzlement in New York – whether the crime is charged as a felony or as a misdemeanor, or at either the state or federal level – should seek legal help at once from an experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney who routinely represents defendants charged with white collar crimes in this state.

People who deal with large sums of money on a daily basis – and who deal with the record-keeping that goes with handling such sums – make plenty of mistakes.

It does not mean that they are criminals. But for prosecutors, it means that embezzlement is often a difficult crime to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt.”


In some embezzlement cases, a defendant may have been framed by a colleague.

In cases where money or property has simply gone missing, sometimes a person is accused merely because he or she is the most convenient suspect.

To convict a suspect of embezzlement, a prosecutor usually must prove that:

– A fiduciary relationship existed between the defendant and the victim.
– The defendant used that relationship to gain access to money or property.
– The defendant intentionally took the money or property without the owner’s permission.


With the countless complexities that may arise in an embezzlement case, a defendant in New York must be represented by an aggressive, experienced Long Island criminal defense attorney who will examine the details and circumstances of the case, protect the defendant’s rights, develop an effective defense strategy, and fight on a defendant’s behalf for the best possible result.

If an embezzlement prosecution goes to trial, a good criminal defense lawyer can often cast “reasonable doubt” on the prosecution’s evidence.

Even a simple clerical error can sometimes look like embezzlement. There are usually a number of ways for a skilled criminal defense attorney to challenge a prosecutor’s embezzlement case.

However, if the evidence of a defendant’s embezzlement is overwhelming and conclusive, that defendant’s attorney may try to have the embezzlement charge reduced, and he or she will also argue for reduced or alternative sentencing.

In any embezzlement case, a good defense lawyer will use every appropriate legal tool to bring the matter to its best possible conclusion.

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