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Georgia’s Embezzlement Laws 

June 20, 2024 Posted In Fraud

In Georgia, embezzlement is a serious crime punishable with prison terms and significant fines. Proving that you are not responsible for such charges can be difficult if you do not fully understand your rights under the law. Working with an Atlanta embezzlement attorney from Wallack Law in Georgia to navigate embezzlement laws and how they apply to your case is often beneficial.

How Does Georgia Define Embezzlement?

A type of white-collar crime, embezzlement is a non-violent crime related to receiving some type of financial or business gain. It occurs when a person takes money or assets they are entrusted with but do not have the legal right to take. It may apply to embezzling money from accounts but can also apply to valuables. In Georgia, you will notice the term used is “conversion” or “theft by conversion” rather than embezzlement.

Key Embezzlement Laws in Georgia

To prove that conversion occurred, or embezzlement, the prosecutor must show:

  • The party acquired another person’s assets, including valuables, property, or money, including both leased or rented property as well
  • The party is known to have been given access to or use the assets in a specific way, such as managing funds in an account
  • The party then knowingly takes assets and uses those assets in a manner that violates their legal obligation, usually for personal gain.

A key component of this process is ensuring that the party was lawfully acquiring the property at first. That means that the person was supposed to be using or accessing the property in some way. A person who uses or controls another person’s money without permission, beyond the scope of the original agreement, could be found to be guilty of conversion.

Know the Punishments for Embezzlements in Georgia

Numerous factors play a role in determining guilt in a case like this, but all carry significant punishment if proven guilty. Consider the following punishments:

  • Property valued up to $500: Up to a full year in prison and a $1,000 fine
  • Property valued at over $500: Up to 5 years of imprisonment and a $5,000 fine
  • If the property value was over $500, and the victim in the matter was 65 years of age or older, the prison sentence may increase to 5 to 10 years

Additionally, a separate charge applies in situations where a fiduciary duty is breached. For example, if a licensed professional misuses or steals money from a client, whether private or public, that could result in up to 15 years of imprisonment and fines of $100,000. The loss of licensure is also likely to occur in this case.

For those who are being charged with a violation of embezzlement laws in Georgia, it is critical to consider the specific risk factors you face. These serious charges can lead to long-term convictions and fines but also can impact your ability to obtain a job down the road. Working with an embezzlement defense attorney could be the best way to navigate the legal options you are facing in these situations.