Under Florida statutes, the act of employee theft is a third-degree felony that carries up to five years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines. Employee theft occurs in a multitude of ways, including embezzlement or sharing confidential information. Studies have found that three out of four workers have committed at least one form of employee theft against their current employer.
Defining employee theft
Employee theft can be defined as any intentional misappropriation of the employer’s property, including currency checks, fixed assets, inventory, trade secrets or cash. This also includes embezzlement, forgery, fraud and other similar schemes. Fraud may involve intentionally misleading an employer while forgery might consist of altering negotiable instruments. Embezzlement involves the theft of the employer’s funds. Employee theft and other crimes can quickly add up to multiple charges and fines.
How employers address theft
The first thing employers do when they suspect an employee of embezzlement is conduct a fair and accurate investigation. Next, employers may decide to terminate or discipline the employee accused of theft. Afterward, the employer files a claim under their dishonest employee policy or fidelity bond. The next move is to recover the losses from their insurer and seek restitution from the criminal justice system in hopes that the employee will be ordered to pay back the funds.
Defending against charges of employee theft
If you’ve been accused of employee theft, contact legal counsel today. A defense lawyer may help investigate the claims against you and guide you through the process. Legal counsel may be able to develop a defense strategy to either counter your charges in court or negotiate for a more favorable plea bargain with local authorities.