Embezzlement, Theft, and Illinois Law
The Daily Herald recently reported that the last of four suburban Chicago residents who devised a multi-million dollar embezzlement scheme involving a Chicago law firm has pleaded guilty to theft. Deborah Acuna, 63, of Oak Brook, received a 10-month jail sentence, 18 months of probation, and an order to pay restitution in the amount of $175,000. This illustrates the potentially severe sentence that an individual can receive if convicted of theft or embezzlement under Illinois law.
Four Sentenced for Embezzling Six Million Dollars from Chicago Law Firm
Acuna and her sister, Patricia Lapinski, founded DAS Designs, a business that provided furniture for the Vedder Price law firm, where Lapinski worked as office manager. The two sisters conspired with a North Aurora floor company manager and a Frankfort furniture repair company owner to create phony invoices for the law firm to pay DAS over six million dollars, including one million dollars in services and goods that DAS never provided. The four individuals then used the proceeds to finance homes, vacations, and other items of property.
Embezzlement Under Illinois Law
While many think of embezzlement and other types of white collar crime as federal criminal offenses, the fact is that embezzlement is also a criminal offense under Illinois law. An individual is guilty of embezzlement if another has entrusted the individual with money or property and the individual takes some or all of the money or property for himself or herself. The difference between embezzlement and theft is that not only did the individual take something that did not belong to him or her but that the individual was in a particular position of trust relative to the owner of the property.
Penalties for Embezzlement
The penalties for embezzlement under Illinois law depend upon the value of the property involved in the embezzlement. While embezzlement is typically a felony charge, it is a Class A misdemeanor if the value of the property is $500 or less. If the value of the property is more than $500, then the charge will be a felony, as follows:
- $501 - $10,000 – Class 3 felony, which carries a sentence of two to five years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $25,000;
- $10,001 - $100,000 – Class 2 felony, which carries a sentence of three to seven years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $25,000;
- $100,001 - $500,000 – Class 1 felony, which carries a sentence of six to 30 years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $25,000;
- $500,001 – $999,000 – Class 1 non-probationable felony, which carries a sentence of four to 15 years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $25,000; and
- Over $1 million – Class X felony, which carries a sentence of six to 30 years of incarceration and/or a fine of up to $25,000
There also are other factors surrounding embezzlement that can enhance the penalties for a conviction, such as those involving property taken from an adult who is 60 older, a place of worship, a school, or a government entity.
Let Us Assist You Today
As this post illustrates, the repercussions of an embezzlement or theft conviction can be quite severe. Aside from having a felony conviction on your criminal history, you may have difficulty finding a job and may even be barred from certain careers. You will soon find that the assistance of an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer is essential to the successful and expeditious resolution of your criminal charges. Contact the passionate Naperville criminal defense attorneys of Donahue & Sowa, and allow us to begin building a strong defense on your behalf.