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Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney
Former Cook County Felony Prosecutor

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Embezzlement in Illinois: What You Should Know

Embezzlement is a form of white collar crime which may be punishable by lengthy prison sentences, exorbitant fines, and restitution. Despite these serious criminal consequences, embezzlement is sadly fairly common here in Illinois.

Take, for example, the former mayor of Posen. He was recently indicted on embezzlement charges for stealing money from the city’s checking account during his final two years in office, from 2015 to 2016. The indictment does not report how much the former mayor allegedly stole, and the case is ongoing.

Or, perhaps, the clerical worker at Illinois State University who was recently accused of embezzling over $160,000 from the University over the period of several years. She is currently awaiting trial, and could face 6-30 years in prison if convicted.

As you can see, embezzlement is a white collar crime that is taken quite seriously by our state. Let’s take a look at the laws surrounding embezzlement, as well as the sentencing and penalties you could face if convicted.

How Illinois Law Defines Embezzlement

The offense of embezzlement takes place when someone who was entrusted to manage the money or property of another person or entity steals all or part of the money or property entrusted to them for personal gain.

Illinois law defines embezzlement as when the following occurs:

  • The defendant has a fiduciary relationship with the victim;
  • The defendant acquires property through this relationship;
  • The defendant takes ownership of the property or transfers the property to a third party for his or her own personal gain;
  • The defendant’s actions are intentional, and are not accidental.

Illinois Embezzlement Sentencing and Penalties

Like most theft crimes, embezzlement is punished related to the amount of money or property allegedly embezzled. Embezzling from certain victims (for example, a school or place of worship) results in enhanced sentencing and penalties.

If convicted of embezzlement in Illinois, you can expect the following consequences:

  • Under $500 and not from a person: Class A Misdemeanor punishable by less than one year in prison and fines up to $2,500. If the victim was a school or place of worship or government property was embezzled, this becomes a Class 4 Felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • Under $500 from a person or $500-$1000: This is a Class 3 Felony punishable by 2-5 years in prison and fines up to $25,000. If the victim was a school or place of worship or government property was embezzled, this becomes a Class 2 Felony punishable by 3-7 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • $10,000-$100,000: This is a Class 2 Felony punishable as is described above. If the victim was a school or place of worship or government property was embezzled, this becomes a Class 1 Felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • $100,000-$500,000: This is a Class 1 Felony punishable as is described above. If the victim was a school or place of worship or government property was embezzled, this becomes a Class X Felony punishable by 6-30 years in prison and fines up to $25,000.
  • $500,000-$1 Million: This is a Class 1 Non-probational Felony punishable as is described above. This offense is not eligible for probation, meaning that the defendant will serve the entire prison term.
  • Over $1 Million: This is a Class X Felony punishable as is described above.
  • Theft of at least $5,000 from a victim over 60: This is a Class 2 Felony punishable as is described above.

 Chicago Embezzlement Lawyer

The severity of penalties is why it’s so important to be aware of the laws surrounding embezzlement, and to proactively fight back to give yourself the best chance at beating your charges.

 

 About the Author:

Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes.

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