A woman is facing Alabama theft charges after an audit of the non-profit company with which she was previously employed found more than $10,300 was missing.
Birmingham criminal defense lawyers understand the woman has been arrested on one count of second-degree property theft and two counts of first-degree property theft.
Theft of property in the second-degree is defined in Alabama Code 13A-8-4. There are numerous types of theft that fall under this category, but it's basically theft of property that is higher than $500, but less than $2,500 and was not physically taken from another person (in which case it would be robbery).
You can also be charged with second-degree theft if you steal a debit or credit card, regardless of its value. Same thing if you commit theft of a shotgun, rifle or other firearm, or controlled substance or livestock.
If you've previously been convicted of property theft or receiving stolen property, you can be charged with second-degree theft even if the value of what you stole was only $250.
Conviction on this charge is a Class C felony, which means you would serve a minimum of two years and a maximum of 20 years, with fines of up to $5,000.
First-degree theft of property, as defined in Alabama Code 13A-8-3 is when you take anything of value over $2,500. It could also be theft of a motor vehicle, regardless of value, or a scheme by one or more persons to steal from a business and the aggregate value of that theft was more than $1,000 within the course of six months.
First-degree property theft is a Class B felony, which means you may also serve up to 20 years, though your fines could be as high as $10,000.
These are not like petty theft charges that you may be able to handle on your own or with a public defender (though that's not typically advisable either). These are serious charges, and you absolutely can't afford NOT to invest in an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
According to media reports, the defendant previously worked for a Huntsville non-profit that promotes downtown development projects through private investments and city donations.
The missing funds were discovered when the organization was preparing to wrap up the completion of its partnership with another non-profit of a local park – a $3 million project. An audit was conducted just to tie up any loose ends, and that's when the theft was discovered.
The employee was allowed to resign while the internal investigation was ongoing, and once that investigation was complete, the findings were reported to local law enforcement, which recently made the arrest.
The employee was booked on $25,000 bond and released the same day.
A theft from an employers is sometimes referred to as "embezzlement." There are many potential defenses to this crime, including:
Insufficient evidence. Forty percent of federal embezzlement cases are dropped for this very reason.
Absence of intent to commit the crime. Without the required intent, the charge may be dismissed.
Contact Birmingham Criminal Defense Attorney Steven Eversole at (866) 831-5292.
Big Spring Partners Former Employee charged With Theft, Dec. 3, 2012, By Matt Kroschel, WHNT19 News