Tag Archives: embezzlement

Illinois white collar crime defense lawyerAs most people understand it, the term “white collar job” refers to a specific subset of occupations. These are the jobs that typically require individuals to attain college degrees, and sometimes advanced degrees, to perform. White collar crimes are no different. These are offenses that not just anybody can commit, because not everyone has the specialized knowledge or professional access to information or funds to commit these offenses. White collar crimes can go unnoticed for months, or even years, because they often do not leave victims physically harmed or create a commotion around sudden, violent actions. This does not mean they are any less serious than other types of charges.

Defining White Collar Crimes

There are two factors that separate a white collar crime from other types of crimes: who commits the crime and how he or she commits it. In order to commit a white collar crime, an individual must typically be in a professional or governmental position to access certain funds and information. For example, a financial advisor might lie about how he or she invested a client’s money or about the investments’ returns, taking a cut for him- or herself. Making personal purchases with corporate or government accounts is another type of white collar crime.

A white collar crime is not a violent crime or one that can be detected immediately. Instead, white collar crimes are defined by how the funds or critical information used to commit an offense are accessed. In most cases, individuals who are charged with white collar crimes have authorized access to the information they use, like clients’ bank account numbers and social security numbers. Identity theft, the act of stealing this type of information, may be deemed a white collar crime in certain instances.

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Embezzlement, Theft, and Illinois LawThe 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.

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embezzlementEmbezzlement is a crime we often hear about in the news in relation to higher-up business people and politicians, but not many people are aware of what it actually means. Because it is more common amongst people outside of the everyday average Joe, we tend to detach ourselves from it. However, this does not mean that you should not familiarize yourself with it, for there is no telling where your life will take you.

By definition, embezzlement is the “fraudulent conversion of another’s property by a person who is in a position of trust, such as an agent or employee.” Often compared to the act of swindling, embezzlement differs from swindling because swindling involves wrongfully obtaining property by a false pretense (a lie or a trick, for example) at the time the property is transferred. To break it down a little more, embezzlement is a type of property theft. The person who commits embezzlement is somebody who is entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property. Referred to as a defendant, this person has legal access to another person’s money or property but does not have legal ownership of it. Embezzlement is unique in that the defendant has both committed theft and has violated a special position of trust. Here in Illinois, embezzlement is generally punished based on the value or type of property that has been stolen. Punishments are as follows:

  • $500 or less: up to $2,500 in fines, up to one year in jail, or both;
  • Over $500 but under $10,00: up to $25,000 in fines, two to five years in jail, or both;
  • Over $10,000 but under $100,000: up to $25,00 in fines, three to seven years in jail, or both;
  • Over $100,000 but under $500,000: up to $25,000 in fines, six to 30 years in jail, or both;
  • Over $500,000 but under $1,000,000: up to $25,000 in fines, four to 15 years in jail (without possibility of parole and probation), or both;
  • Over $1,000,000: up to $25,000 in fines, six to 30 years in jail, or both.

If you or somebody you know has been charged with embezzlement, you do not have to face it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois criminal attorney to assist you.  

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