Embezzlement: Even Nuns Can Be Charged

The word embezzlement often brings to mind the image of a CEO or important account executive. While this may often be the case, it is important to remember that anyone who misappropriates funds can potentially get caught for embezzlement. In recent news, two nuns were caught in an embezzlement scandal after they used funds set aside for a Catholic school for their own personal use. The nuns had deposited $500,000 worth of checks into multiple accounts, and were red flagged during a routine audit.

What Constitutes Embezzlement?

Embezzlement occurs any time there is a theft or intentional misappropriation of funds, which a person has been trusted to handle correctly. This means that anyone who is in charge of handling money could be charged with embezzlement if they attempt to use it for their own personal use. It is not just wealthy businessmen who are caught for these types of crimes, and the consequences can be very serious.

Consequences

In the story of the nuns, the church and the archdiocese ultimately decided not to press charges. The nuns have also been allowed to stay in the order. It looks like the only punishment will be sanctions, which come from within the order. The nuns in this case were lucky that there were no charges pressed, but most people do not take from those who are as inclined for forgiveness. Embezzlement is a serious charge, and if someone wants to press charges, it can ruin your reputation and take away your freedom. In fact, embezzlement charges can come with a fine of up to $10,000 and a prison sentence of up to 30 years.

What to Do if You’ve Been Accused

If you have been accused of embezzlement, you shouldn’t take it lightly. Thankfully, there are good defenses that can be argued by experienced attorneys. The prosecution will have to argue that the plaintiff entrusted you with the money, that you had access to the money through the plaintiff, and that you took the money intentionally. A criminal defense attorney will be able to analyze your specific case in order to understand the nuances of your situation and how it relates to these qualifications of embezzlement. If embezzlement did take place, an experienced attorney will also be able to help navigate other potential solutions, including restitution.

While it is true that many of those accused of embezzlement are businessmen, this is not always the case. Anyone who is entrusted with the care of someone else’s money can commit embezzlement or be wrongly accused, even nuns. If you have been accused of embezzlement, it is in your best interest to immediately reach out to a criminal defense firm like Robert Eckard & Associates, P.A., which specializes in defending those who have been accused of embezzlement.