The high crime of embezzlement garners serious penalties. Usually, those consequences deter enough people from perpetrating this crime, but for some, the temptation of money overpowers their will to abide by the law.
A Colorado school technology director was fired after accusations of embezzling over $400,000 from the school district. It’s believed he used the school’s credit cards for his own personal travel and expenses. He now faces criminal theft charges in addition to termination from the job.
Here’s what you need to know about Colorado embezzlement laws and the penalties associated with this crime—far worse than losing a job.
What Is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a crime of theft. It involves misuse of money or property, usually through a company or employer, by someone in a position of trust.
If a person knowingly exercises control over, retains, or obtains anything of value through threat, deception, or without authorization, they can be charged with embezzlement.
They must also:
- Intend to deprive the person or entity permanently of the benefit or use of the valued property
- Retain something of value for over 72 hours after the agreed-upon return time
- Knowingly conceal, abandon, or use a valued property in a way that permanently deprives another of its use
Penalties for Embezzlement in CO
In Colorado, the penalties depend on the type of embezzlement, the value, and who was involved. Restitution may need to be paid to victims in conjunction with jail time or fines.
Value of $50 or Less
This is a Class 1 petty offense. It can end in up to 180 days in jail and fines of $500.
Value Between $50 and $300
This counts as a Class 3 misdemeanor. It can garner a similar jail sentence as above with a higher fine, $750.
Value Between $300 and $750
A Class 2 misdemeanor, this offense may result in one year behind bars and fines as much as $1,000.
Value Between $750 and $2,000
This Class 1 misdemeanor is punishable by maximum 18 months in prison and $5,000 in fines.
Value Between $2,000 and $5,000
A Class 6 felony, you can face 18 months in prison and fines as high as $100,000.
Value Between $5,000 and $20,000
This is a Class 5 felony. It can be punished by up to three years in prison and $100,000 fines.
Value Between $20,000 and $100,000
A class 4 felony, conviction on this level can evoke a six year prison sentence and up to $500,000 in fines.
Value Between $100,000 and $1 Million
This Class 3 felony can draw a sentence of 12 years behind bars and fines of $750,000.
Value More Than $1 Million
The highest embezzlement offense is a Class 2 felony. It can land you up to 24 years in prison and $1 million in fines.
No amount of money justifies years behind bars. That’s why if you are charged with embezzlement, it’s vital to understand your case and your rights as a defendant. Seek professional counsel to mount the best defense possible.
About the Author:
Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012 & 2019” and a “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2020 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state. Additionally, Expertise names her to its lists of the 25 Best Denver DUI Lawyers and 21 Best Denver Criminal Defense Lawyers, both in 2020. Ms. Diego has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.