Embezzlement often entails complex schemes to siphon money from its rightful owners, but the crime can be as simple as taking the money and walking away. Oklahoma City white collar crime lawyers represent those who have been accused of stealing from the workplace by embezzling funds or property. Sometimes, they represent individuals who are accused of being a part of a covert and longstanding scheme to misappropriate funds. Other times, they may represent individuals who are accused of taking a more direct approach. Yesterday, and Oklahoma City woman was charged with two counts of embezzlement after she was accused of directly stealing the deposits of an Edmond convenience store. Christina M. DeWitt, 38, was charged with embezzlement in Oklahoma County District Court for allegedly twice failing to deposit the receipts of the Circle K convenience store located at 1308 North Bryant Avenue in Edmond. Store video allegedly shows DeWitt leaving the store with a deposit of $4,255 on March 29, and a deposit of $10,316.89 on March 30. According to DeWitt's employer, the store manager was supposed to make the deposits and then return to the store to train another employee. However, the employer says, the deposits were not made, and DeWitt never returned to work. Under Oklahoma embezzlement law, the penalties for embezzlement vary according to the value of the property or stolen funds. For example, embezzlement of less than $500 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, the greater the value of the embezzled property, the greater the severity of the crime. In this case, the suspect is accused of stealing more than $14,000. Under Oklahoma law, theft or embezzlement of property valued between $1,000 and $25,000 is punishable by restitution, a fine of up to $5,000, and a prison sentence of up to five years in a state penitentiary. What is embezzlement? What actions constitute embezzlement and contribute to criminal charges? Embezzlement is defined as "the fraudulent appropriation of funds or property entrusted to one's care but actually owned by someone else." In other words, if someone is entrusted with the money or property of an individual, business, or organization, and that person takes the money or property for his or her own personal use, then he or she has committed embezzlement. Examples of embezzlement include:
- An employee of a business, organization, or institution who pockets all or part of the deposits
- A guardian or an executor of a will or estate who has legal access to the funds of another person, living or dead, and misappropriates those funds for personal use or funnels the money into personal accounts
- An employee takes cash from the register or fails to ring up items, pocketing the customer's payment
- An employee adds fictitious names or names of relatives to the company payroll to collect multiple paychecks for phony employees
- A bookkeeper falsifies payments and accounts
- Check kiting
- Falsifying timesheets
- and more.
If you have been charged with embezzlement, are being investigated for embezzlement, or if you suspect that you may be involved in illegal activity, it is important that you cease the questionable action and contact an experienced Oklahoma white collar crime lawyer who can help you determine the best course of action to protect against criminal charges.