Suffolk Grand Larceny By Embezzlement

Larceny is a crime that involves stealing property owned by someone else. Under New York law there are several different types of larceny based on how the theft was committed as well as on the value of the property taken. One way that you can commit larceny is through embezzlement. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.05. 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 a trusted employee wrongfully takes money from the employer. The larceny charge will be a felony grand larceny charge if the value of the property reaches a certain threshold. In other cases the charge would be misdemeanor petit larceny. If you have been accused of embezzlement, larceny, or any other crime of theft, petit larceny or any other theft crime contact a Suffolk County Grand Larceny by Embezzlement Lawyer who will explain to you your legal rights and guide you through the criminal process.

Types of Grand Larceny

Under New York law if you embezzle money or other property, you will be charged with one of 5 larceny charges depending on the value of the property you are accused of taking. 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.

  • Petit larceny: The value of the property must be $1,000 or less.
  • Grand larceny in the fourth degree: The value of the property must be more than $1,000, but not more than $3,000. Or the property must be 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 manufacture methamphetamine.
  • Grand larceny in the third degree: The value of the property must be more than $3,000, but not more than $50,000. Or the theft must involve stealing an automated teller machine, or its contents.
  • Grand larceny in the second degree: The value of the property must be more than $50,000, but not more than $1,000,000.
  • Grand larceny in the first degree: The value of the property must be more than $1,000,000.
Defenses

If you are accused for embezzlement, you may have a valid defense to the charge that could help get the charges reduced to dismissed. Examples of defenses include claim of right, lack of intent to deprive, and value of property.

Claim of Right Defense. According to the grand larceny statute, if you took the property based on a good faith belief that you had the right to take it, then you may have a valid defense to an embezzlement charge. N.Y. Pen. Law § 155.15. To use this defense, your belief does not need to be correct or reasonable. It just has to be a good faith belief. If you did truly believe that you had a right to take the property, then you did not have the intent to commit embezzlement as required by the statute.

Lack of Intent to Deprive. Another defense is that you did not have the intent to deprive the owner of the property. This is the "I borrowed it" defense. For example, if you work as a chef in a restaurant and you took home a set of very expensive knives to use at home for preparing a meal for a dinner party. You intended to bring it back to work, but you kept forgetting to do so. If you are arrested for grand larceny you may be able to defeat the charges by arguing that you did not intend to keep the knives, but to simply them.

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. If you are accused of taking a certain amount of money, the prosecutor must be able to prove it. If, for example, you are arrested and charged with grand larceny in the first degree for embezzling over $1 million. However, records show that the amount missing only $800,000. The charge against you would have to be reduced to grand larceny in the second degree. This is significant because the potential punishment for a second degree larceny conviction is less harsh the potential punishment for a grand larceny in the first degree. 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 ranges from probation, to a year in jail to 25 years in prison. Any sentence for theft will likely include payment of restitution to the victim.

Petit larceny. For a misdemeanor petit larceny conviction, you could be sentenced to up to 1 year in jail.

Grand larceny in the fourth degree. For a fourth degree grand larceny conviction you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison and restitution. If probation is part of the sentence, it will be for 5 years. For first time offenders New York law 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. For a third degree grand larceny conviction you could be sentenced to up to 7 years in prison, 5 years of probation and restitution. For first time offenders the New York law 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 to 4 years in prison.

Grand larceny in the second degree. For a second degree grand larceny conviction you could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison, 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 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, 5 years of probation and restitution. The minimum sentence is 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 by embezzlement, you face a serious charge that could land you in prison for many years. However, there may be defenses available to you that could result in the charge against you being dropped or reduced. In order to take advantage of any such defenses, you should immediately seek legal guidance from an experienced attorney. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with embezzlement as well as other crimes such as petit larceny, burglary, possession of stolen property, robbery, and credit card fraud. 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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