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Facts that must be present for an embezzlement conviction

If you were accused of embezzlement, you are facing very serious criminal charges that could land you in jail if a conviction occurs. That said, you will also have the ability to fight back against the charges and defend yourself in court.

When organizing your criminal defense against embezzlement charges, you'll want to focus on the factors that the prosecution must prove to be true in order for a conviction to occur. If you can successfully cast doubt on the prosecution's case regarding the following four areas, you might be able to get your charges dropped, get your case dismissed or achieve a verdict of not guilty.

1. You owed a fiduciary duty to the party

The prosecution needs to show that a relationship of trust existed between you and the party you allegedly embezzled from. In other words, the party was relying on you and expecting you to act in accordance with its best interests. This is referred to as a "fiduciary relationship" -- a relationship by which one party entrusts another party to act on its behalf and in its best interests.

2. You acquired the assets through your fiduciary relationship

This means that you took advantage of your fiduciary relationship in order to take advantage of the party that trusted you. Essentially, the prosecution must prove that you used your special powers as a trusted agent -- who had access to money, bank accounts and assets -- to unlawfully steal from the trusting party.

3. You took ownership of the property

To prove that you took ownership of the property, the prosecution will need to show the paper trail of the funds moving from the trusting party's bank account to your bank account through your actions. Or, that you moved money without authorization to another party's accounts.

4. Your actions were intentional

Perhaps you accidentally entered the wrong bank account number when entering in a transfer order, and the money went to the wrong place. In this case, the act was not intentional. Therefore, it would not be embezzlement. In order for an embezzlement conviction to stick, the act has to be intentional.

Were you accused of embezzlement?

No defendant in New Jersey will ever face punishment or conviction until the prosecution proves him or her to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in court. Until this happens, the defendant will have every right to defend him- or herself against the crimes.

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