Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

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Gathering evidence works both ways in an embezzlement case

Imagine for a moment that you are a small business owner. In the last few months, business has been really good, which has caused you to make more deposits than you normally do. You've also needed to hire some more help to deal with your financial transactions.

One day though, everything changes. Federal investigators come unannounced to your establishment and present you with a warrant. They accuse you of embezzlement or other financial crimes and demand to see your financial records. You oblige -- after all, you know this is a mistake. But armed with this alleged evidence, investigators press criminal charges and you soon find yourself facing an area of the law you know very little about.

Regrettably, a scenario such as this could easily happen to small business owners all over Georgia and the nation. Because businesses have been used in the past to front illegal operations, some law enforcement personnel  tend to assume the worst when examining financial transactions for all businesses. Whether large or small, too many deposits can look like illegal activity to investigators who at times give too much credence to their initial hunches.

Unfortunately, this can happen at the expense of innocent, law abiding business owners. Even allegations of embezzlement or other financial wrongdoing can be damaging to an individual's reputation, which can then have a negative impact on one's business. This is all the more reason to decline to answer investigator's questions without first getting a lawyer's help and then building a defense against these accusations.

As you have probably guessed, gathering evidence works both ways in criminal trials. In embezzlement cases, prosecutors will try to show that everything from deposits to withdrawals are indications of illegal activity. With the right defense attorney at your side, and evidence of your own, you can show that your transactions were for legitimate business reasons and perhaps even that you weren't the only one with access to your business accounts. It's worth pointing out, however, that without a proper legal background, this can be nearly impossible to do on your own.

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Nick Lotito & Seth Kirschenbaum

Former Federal Prosecutors

918 Ponce de Leon Avenue, N.E. Atlanta, GA 30306 Phone: 404-692-5168 Fax: 404-872-1622 Atlanta Law Office Map