Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

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Embezzlement convictions for cashing someone else's tax returns

It is not uncommon for federal indictments to include multiple charges, especially when the alleged crimes involved have to do with fraud. Two Georgia men have recently been found guilty of identity theft and embezzlement, and there are still pending charges against one of them.

The two men reportedly cashed tax return checks made out to other people in the early months of 2011. The men are said to have pocketed around $700,000 before being caught for misappropriating funds. An embezzlement charge, as a crime of theft, frequently comes down on employees who have improperly exercised authority over company assets, but in this case the men were charged with theft of government property.

Federal crimes generally come with heftier penalties and sentences than crimes at the state or local level, making it that much more important for an arrestee to know their rights and seek out skilled assistance. Federal sentencing guidelines help judges and juries decide appropriate punishments, but criminal law usually sees quite a lot of negotiation when it comes to which charges to pursue and what penalties should be doled out.

Depending on what the court is seeking to accomplish, whether it be setting an example or attempting to get an arrestee to incriminate a conspirator, a judge or prosecutor may be willing to negotiate charges or sentences. Every arrestee would like to see all charges dropped, but sometimes that hope is not realistic. When that is the case, looking at options like plea bargains can help to reduce overall penalties.

An arrestee should remember that multiple charges do not always mean multiple convictions, especially if an experienced attorney is at the helm of the case.

Source: CBS Atlanta, "2 Georgia Men Convicted In US Treasury Embezzlement," Jan. 14, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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