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Georgia councilwoman accused of embezzlement

A Georgia councilwoman is facing charges after she allegedly embezzled tens of thousands of dollars. According to the federal indictment, the politician forged checks and used a debit card at the community center she worked at in order to pay for a number of personal expenses.

The woman has served as a city councilwoman since being elected in 2010. According to investigators, despite being known for good cheer and chocolate chip cookies, the woman took roughly $50 thousand in about two years. The allegations also include questions over the possible forgery of checks from the community center's bank accounts.

When asked, many who know the councilwoman had nothing but positive things to say regarding her character. Unfortunately, an embezzlement sentence can greatly damage a person's public image -- especially a politician's. Trials involving public figures like politicians can get complicated as it is difficult to find an impartial jury, and there are many intricacies that come into play when the media and public are so involved. With the councilwoman, there's also an upcoming election to consider, which adds another layer of difficulty.

Thankfully, a skilled attorney with expertise in white-collar crimes will know how to handle such a publicized case, and can also offer advice on how to deal with the media as well as how to tackle the charges head-on. For example, there are four things that need to be present in order for an embezzlement charge to be supported: a fiduciary relationship with two parties; a defendant that gained property through the relationship between the two; a defendant that took ownership of the property or gave ownership to someone else; and a defendant whose actions were intentional.

If any of these are not proven in court, someone facing an embezzlement charge may be able to walk away with a clear name. Again, a skilled attorney can help guide a defendant through this process and navigate through the often precarious trials involving both public and private individuals.

Source: My Fox Atlanta, "Federal Grand Jury indicts Clarkson councilwoman," Oct. 17, 2013

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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