Employee Embezzlement Defense Lawyer Maine


State Embezzlement Charges Versus Federal Embezzlement Charges

An embezzlement offense may be charged as either a state or federal crime depending on several factors. The primary factors are the amount allegedly embezzled and  whom the alleged victim of the offense is. Embezzlement is a felony under state and federal law if  it involves an amount that exceeds $1000. Otherwise the offense is a misdemeanor.  Generally speaking, the maximum penalty for the  federal felony offense is 5 to 10 years in prison and/or a $250,000 fine. A federal misdemeanor charge carries maximum penalties of up to a year in jail and/or a $100,000 fine.


Types of Embezzlement Under Maine State Law

In Maine, the law defines embezzlement as “theft by deception.” The statutory elements are the obtaining or exercising control of the property of another as the result of deception with intent to deprive the other person of the property. The crime if often charged against employees who fraudulently steal property from their employer’s business but can also involve bank examiners, nonprofit workers, court officers, accountants, caretakers, even medical professionals.  The various classes of state embezzlement offenses include:

  • Stolen property of more than $10,000 (Class B crime)
  • Stolen property is a firearm or explosive device (Class B crime)
  • The perpetrator carried a dangerous weapon at the time of the offense (Class B crime)
  • The cost of the property is more than $1,000, but not more than $10,000 (Class C crime)
  • The price of the property is more than $500, but not more than $1,000 (Class D crime)
  • The individual has more than two or more prior convictions of the following offenses or similar conduct to those of the Maine offenses listed below (Class B crime):
  • Theft
  • The intention of theft inside a structure
  • A theft of an item inside a motor vehicle
  • Any violation of Section 651 (Robbery)
  • Section 702 (Aggravated forgery)
  • Section 703 (Forgery)
  • Section 708 (Negotiating a worthless instrument)

Types of Federal Embezzlement Crimes under Title 18 of the United States Code

§641 Public Money, Property, or Records

Whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; but if the value of such property in the aggregate, combining amounts from all the counts for which the defendant is convicted in a single case, does not exceed the sum of $1,000, he shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

§642 Producing Counterfeit Money or Owning Tools Used to Make Counterfeit Bills

§643 Accounting Generally for Public Money

When an employee of the US government receives public money, which is not his or her salary, pay, or emolument and fails to render his accounts, they are guilty of embezzlement.

§644 Banker Receiving an Unauthorized Deposit of Public Money

Any person who is not an authorized depositary of public money, but is found to have used, transferred, converted, appropriated, or applied any portion of the public money for a purpose not prescribed by law is guilty of embezzlement.

§645 Court Officer Embezzlement and Theft

§646 Court Officers Depositing Registry Money

§647 Receiving a Loan from a Court Officer

Anyone who knowingly receives a deposit, loan, or any money belonging to the registry of the court is guilty of embezzlement and will face a designated fine.

§648 Generally, Custodians Misusing Public Funds

§649 Custodians Failing to Deposit Money

§650 Depositaries Failing to Safeguard Deposits

If any public depositary does not safely keep all money deposited by any disbursing officer or agent, they are guilty of embezzlement.

§651 Disbursing Officer Falsely Certifying Full Payment

§652 Disbursing Officer Paying Lesser instead of Lawful Amount

§653 Disbursing Officer Misusing Public Funds

§654 Officer or Employee of US Converting Property of Another

§655 Theft by Bank Officer

§656 Bank Officer and Insurance Institutions

§658 Properties that are Mortgaged or Pledged to Farm Credit Agencies

Concealing, removing, disposing of, or converting to any other’s use, property mortgaged, pledged to, or held by the Farm Credit Administration and other federal banks, will carry a monetary penalty. The conviction requires imprisonment for not more than five years or both. If the price of the property does not exceed $1,000, the perpetrator faces a fine or is imprisoned for not more than one year, and possibly both.

§659 Interstate or Foreign Shipments by Carrier, State Prosecutions

§660 Carrier’s Funds Derived from Commerce State Prosecutions

§661 Within Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdiction

§662 Receiving Stolen Property from Special Maritime and Territorial Jurisdictions

§663 Solicitation or Use of Gifts

§664 Theft or Embezzlement Concerning an Employee Benefit Plan

§665 Theft or Embezzlement from Employment and Training Funds; Improper Inducement; Obstruction of Investigations

§666 Theft or Bribery from Programs Receiving Federal Funds

§667 Theft of Livestock

§668 Theft of Major Artwork

Anyone who steals or fraudulently obtains an item under the care or control of a museum is stealing an object considered a cultural heritage item. Anyone who knows this object of cultural heritage has been stolen or obtained and receives it, conceals it, exhibits it, disposes of it, shall be fined, imprisoned for not more than ten years, or both.

§669 Theft or Embezzlement Associated with Healthcare

§670 Theft of Medical Products

Whoever uses any means or facility, interstate or foreign commerce to embezzle, steal, or deceptively obtains or knowingly and unlawfully takes, carries away, or conceals pre-retail medical products will be punished thusly:

If the offense is an aggravated one, the offender will face a fine or imprisonment of not more than 30 years or both.

If the value of the medical products is $5,000 or more, a fine is imposed, imprisonment for not more than 15 years, or both. In the case that this office is an aggravated offense, the maximum term of imprisonment is 20 years, under18 U.S. Code § 670.Theft of medical products, such as drugs, infant formula, biological product, device, etc.

Attorney Richard S. Berne Can Fight For You

With over 45 years of experience, Richard S. Berne is highly qualified to assist the residents of Portland, Maine with legal advice and representation that make a difference. When it comes to white-collar defense, Mr. Berne is particularly well suited as he is a former federal prosecutor and handled numerous such cases while a defense attorney in New York City for many years prior to relocating to Portland in 1992. He is a serious, confident, and professional attorney who will offer his insight and judgment to attain the best possible resolution to your case. In both State and Federal courts, Richard Berne has handled drug crimes, embezzlement cases, kidnappings, felony possession of a firearm and many other serious charges.

Contact us at the Law Office of Richard S. Berne to ensure you receive the most effective and comprehensive defense.