Tampa readers may have seen in the news that a Florida man who formerly worked at Florida State University as a Finance Professor has been charged by a federal grand jury with embezzlement. According to the indictment, the man stole over $650,000 from funds held by the university during his time as a professor there. The allegations are clearly serious, particularly given the fact that university professors are expected not only to be knowledgeable in their subjects, but to model the ethical standards of their area of profession.
Having an experienced advocate is obviously critical in embezzlement and other theft-related cases, particularly when those charges come from federal prosecutors. One reason for this is that the federal sentencing guidelines prescribe what are known as mandatory minimum sentences, which can make it more difficult to minimize the consequences of a conviction.
That being said, a skilled defense attorney who is familiar with the sentencing guidelines may be able to approach the case in such a way that an offender’s conviction is minimized within the scope of the guidelines. One way this can happen is that a defense case can be focused on factors in the case that lead to a lower sentencing range for the defendant.
One example of how this can work is that embezzlement sentences are dependent on the amount of money involved in the offense. A defense attorney who is able to successfully challenge and reduce the amount of money prosecutors claim to have been involved in the crime can thereby help to reduce the offense seriousness level assigned to the crime, which can in turn reduce the sentencing range.
In our next post, we’ll look some other ways an experienced defense attorney can help in embezzlement cases.