Queens Grand Larceny By Embezzlement

Larceny is a criminal offense that involves stealing property owned by another person. Under the New York Penal Code there are different types of larceny based on how the theft was committed as well as by the value of the property taken. One way that you can commit larceny is through embezzlement. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05. Larceny can also be accomplished by trespassory taking, writing a bad check, shoplifting, pickpocketing, trickery or extortion. Larceny becomes the more serious crime of grand larceny if the value of the property reaches a certain threshold, otherwise the charge would be petit larceny. If you have been charged with embezzlement, grand larceny, petit larceny or any other theft crime contact a Queens Grand Larceny by Embezzlement Lawyer who will explain to you your legal rights and guide you through the criminal process.

Types of Grand Larceny

Embezzlement is the criminal act of wrongfully appropriating property or money that was entrusted to you, but owned by someone else. In order words, you have access to the property, but you do not own it. Embezzlement often occurs in an employment situation where an employee wrongfully takes money from his or her employer. For example, if a clerk in a business office pockets cash instead of depositing it into the employer's bank account, that clerk has embezzled. Another example of embezzlement would be if you were entrusted with a client's money, but take it and use it for your own personal needs. Under the New York Penal Code if you steal through embezzlement, you will be charged with one of 5 larceny charges depending on the amount of money you are accused of stealing or the value of the property. The 5 larceny charges are petit larceny, grand larceny in the fourth degree, grand larceny in the third degree, grand larceny in the second degree, and grand larceny in the first degree. For each of the larceny charges, the property value must be:

  • Petit larceny: $1,000 or less
  • Grand larceny in the fourth degree: More than $1,000, but not more than $3,000. In addition, the charge will be grand larceny in the fourth degree if the property is a public record, secret scientific material, a credit card, a debit card, firearm, a motor vehicle other than a motorcycle worth more than $100, a religious product worth at least $100, or anhydrous ammonia or liquefied ammonia intended to be used to produce methamphetamine.
  • Grand larceny in the third degree: More than $3,000, but not more than $50,000. Also includes stealing an automated teller machine, or its contents
  • Grand larceny in the second degree: More than $50,000, but not more than $1,000,000
  • Grand larceny in the first degree: More than $1,000,000
Defenses

Depending on the circumstances of your case, there may be a number of different defenses to a charge of grand larceny by embezzlement. Common defenses are claim of right, lack of intent to deprive, and value of property.

Claim of Right Defense. The defense of claim of right is a statutory defense. If you took the property believing that you had the right to take the property and you held that belief in good faith, then you may have a valid defense to a charge of grand larceny by embezzlement. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.15. This defense does not require that you be correct in your belief or even that your belief be objectively reasonable, just that you had a good faith belief. The rationale behind this defense is that if you had a honest believe that you had a right to take the property, then you did not have the intent required by the statute to commit larceny.

Lack of Intent to Deprive. Another defense is that you did not have the intent to deprive the owner of the property. For example, you work for a landscaping company and you took a lawnmower home to cut your grass. You intended to bring it back to work the next day, but forgot. A few days later you are arrested for embezzling that lawnmower. You may be able to defeat the charges by arguing that you did not intend to keep the lawnmower, but to simply borrow it.

Value of Property Defense. Most grand larceny charges are based on the value of the property stolen. The higher the value of the property, the more serious the grand larceny charge. For example, if you work for a retailer and are accused of embezzling $4,000 worth of designer handbags. Based on this value, you are charged with grand larceny in the third degree. However, you could argue that the handbags are worth a total of only $2,500. If you are successful with this defense, you will not be convicted of grand larceny in the third degree. Of course, you may be convicted of another larceny charge such as grand larceny in the fourth degree. However, the potential punishment is less harsh than a grand larceny in the third degree punishment. Prosecutors often seek to assess the highest possible value to the property at the center of a larceny case in order to charge the defendant with the most serious crime.

Punishment for Embezzlement

The punishment for embezzlement varies depending on the grand larceny charge. The range of punishment is 5 years of probation to 25 years in prison. The sentence is likely to include the payment of restitution.

Petit larceny. If you are convicted of petit larceny you could be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail.

Grand larceny in the fourth degree. If you are convicted of grand larceny in the fourth degree based on embezzlement, you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison. Your punishment may also include 5 years of probation and restitution. For first time offenders the New York Penal Code does not require a minimum prison sentence. However, if you have a prior felony conviction, the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the fourth degree is 1.5 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the third degree. If you are convicted of grand larceny in the third degree based on embezzlement, you could be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison, 5 years probation, restitution or a combination of the three. Your punishment may also include probation and restitution. For first time offenders the New York Penal Code does not require a minimum prison sentence. However, if you have a prior felony conviction, the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the third degree is 2-4 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the second degree. If you are convicted of grand larceny in the second degree based on embezzlement, you could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison. Your punishment may also include probation and restitution. For first time offenders the New York Penal Code does not require a minimum prison sentence.

However, if you have a prior felony conviction, the minimum sentence for grand larceny in the second degree is 3-6 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the first degree. If you are convicted of grand larceny in the first degree based on embezzlement, you could be sentenced to up to 25 years in prison, with a minimum sentence of 1-3 years in prison if you are a first time offender, or 4.5-9 years if you have a prior felony conviction.

If you have been charged with grand larceny based on embezzlement, you should immediately seek legal guidance. A criminal conviction will impact the rest of your life. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with grand larceny as well as other crimes such as petit larceny, burglary, possession of stolen property, robbery, credit card fraud, as well as other types of crimes. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of grand larceny in the following locations:

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