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California man arrested for embezzling from the state

Evidence and motive are two very important elements in criminal trials. When a person is accused of a crime, it must first be determined what evidence the police or prosecutor has against the person. Then, during the trial, the intent of the person must be proven in specific intent cases. Even when specific intent is not required to be proven, establishing what a person's intent or motive was at the time of the crime can help defendants and their attorneys present a more compelling story in favor of the defendant. For embezzlement and other internet crimes, the evidence is often times on a computer, which can complicate the process a bit.

An employee of the California Highway Patrol has recently been arrested for suspected embezzlement. The man was not a uniformed officer. According to the police report, the man was embezzling money from the state and funneling it into his own bank account. The Highway Patrol routinely conducts audits and inspections through computerized systems in order to detect these kinds of things. The man faces charges of grand theft, identity theft and misappropriation of public funds. He is currently in jail.

Being charged with embezzlement is a very serious thing. Embezzlement is a felony and often carries penalties of prison time. In many situations, large amounts of money are involved and there is much public outcry about the incident. Many defendants facing embezzlement charges are ordinary people, such as clerks, bookkeepers and accountants, and secretaries, whose lives would be devastated by a lengthy prison sentence. For these people, avoiding a sentence of prison time is critical.

One primary way that defense attorneys can help defendants in these cases is by facilitating restitution. Restitution, or repaying the embezzled funds, can help the defense attorney gain important leverage in negotiating with the prosecutor. In many cases, restitution can result in the prosecutor reducing or even dismissing the charges altogether, even when the full amount has not yet been repaid.

Source: Fox40, "CHP Employee Accused of Identity Theft, Embezzlement," Ian McDonald, Dec. 11, 2013

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