Facing federal charges of any type is stressful and overwhelming, and it can be even more difficult for defendants who never expected to be charged with a federal crime. Federal theft charges can be complicated and unexpected because certain circumstances surrounding the alleged theft crime may turn what would otherwise be a state theft charge into a federal charge.
If you have been charged with a federal crime, contact a federal theft crimes attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, to schedule a free consultation. There is a lot at stake for defendants who have been charged with federal crimes, and only attorneys who have experience representing defendants in federal matters should be trusted to handle your case.
Overlapping Federal And State Charges
Sometimes theft charges that may be brought in local state courts may also be charged in federal court, as well. Although it is possible for defendants to face both state and federal charges for the same crime, charges are typically only brought in either federal or state court.
Defendants going through the federal criminal process are usually subject to harsher penalties and punishment if convicted, which is why defendants generally prefer to face state charges over federal charges.
Embezzlement Vs. Theft
Embezzlement and theft can both be charged at the federal level. These terms are often used synonymously, but embezzlement and theft are actually two different crimes. Theft means that you unlawfully took property belonging to someone else with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of that property. Embezzlement generally means that you or your employer was entrusted with property or funds that you subsequently stole or misappropriated.
The charges and crimes may be different, but both are considered federal theft crimes when charged at the federal level. Both crimes are very serious, and depending on specific case circumstances, you could be facing significant fines and prison time if convicted of either federal charge.
Common Federal Theft Crimes
There are many types of federal theft and embezzlement crimes. See below for a description of some of the more commonly charged federal theft crimes.
- Theft of public money, property, or records
- Theft of tools and materials for counterfeiting
- Misusing or failing to deposit public funds
- A federal employee converting someone’s property
- Theft, embezzlement, or misapplication by a bank officer or employee
- Theft or embezzlement related to healthcare or medical products
- Theft of livestock
- Theft or embezzlement from employee benefit plans
- Theft or embezzlement by employees of employers receiving federal funds
Punishment For Federal Theft Crimes
The severity of punishment, including fines and prison sentences, depends upon individual case facts. Penalties for convictions can be on the lower end with up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, or on the higher end with 30 years in prison and up to $1,000,000 in fines per conviction. Defendants who have been charged with multiple federal crimes may be looking at massive fines and life in prison.
Other Circumstances That Can Lead To Federal Charges
Sometimes theft crimes that are charged at the federal level do not have anything to do with theft from the government or being a government employee. As previously mentioned, sometimes theft crimes that would normally be charged at the state level are charged at the federal level because of particular facts and circumstances related to the theft.
For example, if you steal property locally and you are caught with it in another state, you may be charged at the federal level because you moved stolen goods across state lines. Theft involving goods on the Internet or stealing packages from people’s doorsteps can also be charged as federal crimes. Sometimes the only circumstance that leads to federal charges is when a crime is committed on federal property.
Unfortunately, defendants are often surprised to learn that they have been hit with federal charges for theft crimes that they may not have expected to be anything more than state-level crimes. It is critical that defendants understand what they are up against when they are charged with federal crimes. And it is even more critical for defendants to secure legal representation with a skilled federal criminal defense attorney.
Federal Theft Crimes Attorney
If you have been charged with a federal theft crime, an experienced federal crimes attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC, can help protect and defend your rights. Contact us at 713-229-9992 or online to schedule a free consultation. Federal charges are serious, but a good attorney will help you secure the best possible outcome for your case.
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