Embezzlement Defense Lawyer, Portland, Maine

Richard S. Berne is a highly qualified criminal defense attorney in Portland, Maine. During his more than four decades in practice, Mr. Berne has represented a wide range of individuals in white-collar and criminal defense cases in state and federal courts in Maine, Massachusetts and New York.

What is Embezzlement?

  • Embezzlement is charged in Maine as “theft by deception.” It is generally considered “white-collar crime” in that it often involves misappropriation of money or another item of economic value belonging to an individual or corporation.
  • Embezzlement also often involves the breach of a fiduciary  duty by a person with a special relationship with another individual or company.
  • Embezzlers may submit fictitious or inflated invoices  for work  that never took place.
  • The ubiquitous Ponzi scheme is also an example of embezzlement. This type of fraud pays existing investors with funds collected from new invest

How is Embezzlement Proven in Maine Courts?

Title 17A section 354 entitled Theft By Deception alleges that a person is guilty of theft if the person obtains or exercises control over another’s property by deception and with intent to deprive the other person of the property. This offense may be charged as either a misdemeanor or as a felony depending on the value of the stolen property. Generally speaking, if the value is below $1000 the charge is a misdemeanor and above $1000 the charge is a felony.

Embezzlement Defense

The Mistake or Lack of Intent Defense

If the defendant can establish that he or she took the property by mistake this will prove that he or she lacked the requisite criminal intent to steal the subject property.

The Claim to Right to the Property Defense

A defendant who takes the property due to an honest belief that the property was legally his or hers may also argue that there existed no intent to steal.

It is critical to retain an attorney who understands the ins and outs of this type of crime particularly if you are facing a federal charge of embezzlement. Federal law and procedure are infinitely more complicated than state law both of which require extensive experience.  Also, the federal government has extensive resources, and the penalties for a federal offense are generally more severe than for a state conviction.

Portland, Maine Criminal Lawyer, and Attorney, Richard S. Berne

If you find yourself in a situation that may end in legal actions against you, you need an attorney who has all the characteristics required by a defense lawyer. Dr. Mary Dowd wrote in Chron this month about the attorney attributes essential to those accused of a crime. Dr. Dowd wrote:

  • Communication talents
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Ability to juggle large caseloads
  • Excellent negotiation principles
  • Tenacity
  • Command of the law
  • Defending clients within the bounds of professional ethics, and many more

Richard S. Berne received a B.S. degree from Harvard College and  his law degree from Boston University School of Law.  He specializes in defending criminal cases in Federal and State Courts in Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New York. He is also a member of Maine, Massachusetts, and New York State Bars and and is admitted to federal courts in these states. Mr. Berne has taught C.L.E. courses in Federal and State practice in Maine and other venues. He also has served on the boards of various civic and charitable organizations in the Greater Portland area.

This quote by personal development legend Jim Rohn sums up what most outstanding attorneys believe:

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish for less problems, wish for more skills. Don’t wish for less challenge. Wish for more wisdom.”

Law Office of Richard S. Berne

We have helped numerous clients over the years, and pledge to continue offering our clients the  knowledge, compassion, and strength to face the issues they are battling. If you need assistance with a criminal offense, call our offices today. We are ready to give you the best defense available. Contact us now, and we will begin with a free consultation concerning your case.