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Under Colorado law, embezzlement is a white-collar crime that results when someone steals or misappropriates property that has been entrusted to them. Generally, embezzlement is prosecuted as a theft crime in Colorado, with the penalties varying depending on the value of the stolen or misappropriated property.

Embezzlement by theft occurs when:

  • Someone knowingly obtains, retains, or exercises control over something of value without authorization;
  • Intends to deprive the other person of the use or benefit of the property;
  • Knowingly uses, conceals, or abandons the thing of value in a way that permanently deprives the other individual of its use;
  • Retains the thing of value for over 72 hours after any agreed-upon return of the property.

Embezzlement of public property occurs when a public employee comes into possession of any money or property of the state and knowingly uses it for personal use without authorization. For example, if someone works for a public high school and they receive 20 laptops with the intent to distribute them to students for use in their classroom, but they choose to sell them instead, that is likely embezzlement of public property.

Denver Embezzlement Attorney

If you have been charged with embezzlement in Denver, you will be subject to harsh penalties depending on the value or type of property stolen. This is why it’s important to secure the legal counsel of a practiced defense lawyer. Thankfully, Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. has years of experience successfully defending charged with white collar crimes such as embezzlement.  With our expertise, you can feel confident that you are receiving qualified legal representation.

To secure an initial consultation with Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. and discuss all of your legal options, call (303) 725-0017 today. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Denver area including nearby counties such as Boulder County, Adams County, Arapahoe County, Jefferson County, Douglas County, and Broomfield County.

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Information Center

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Penalties for Embezzlement in CO

The penalties for embezzlement in Colorado depend on the property that was embezzled. In addition to the penalties outlined below, the defendant may be required to pay restitution amounts equal to what they embezzled. In Colorado, the fines for embezzlement may be as follows:

Class of Criminal Offense Value of Property Punishment
Petty Offense $300 or less Up to 10 days in jail.

Up to a $300 fine.

Class 2 Misdemeanor $300 to $1,000 Up to 120 days in jail.

Up to a $750 fine.

Class 1 Misdemeanor $1,000 to $2,000 Up to 364 days in jail.

Up to $1,000 fine.

Class 6 Felony $2,000 to $5,000 12 to 18 months in prison.

Up to $100,000 fine.

Class 5 Felony $5,000 to $20,000 1 to 3 years in prison.

Up to $100,000 fine.

Class 4 Felony $20,000 to $100,000 2 to 6 years in prison.

Up to $500,000 fine.

Class 3 Felony $100,000 to $1 million 4 to 12 years in prison.

Up to $750,000 fine.

Class 2 Felony $1 million or more 8 to 24 years in prison.

Up to a $1 million fine.

In addition to incarceration and fines, the defendant may be subject to one to five years of parole after release from prison. Parole means that an individual is still subject to limitations and check-ins with a parole officer. Additionally, for embezzlement of public property, the defendant will likely be convicted of a class 5 felony.

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Defenses for Embezzlement

There are several potential defenses for those charged with embezzlement, including but not limited to:

  • The defendant did not intend to deprive another person of the permanent use of their property.
  • The defendant had legal access and authority to use the property in the manner they were used.
  • Another person took the property, not the defendant.
  • The defendant returned the item within the required 72-hour timeframe.
  • The owner of the property never entrusted the defendant with the property.
  • There was no personal use of the property.

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Statute Of Limitations

The statute of limitations covers the timeframe in which the defendant may be charged after committing the crime. The statute of limitations clock generally starts when the victim or police discover the suspect’s crime. Once the statute of limitation expires, a suspect can no longer be charged with the crime. Under Colorado law, the statute of limitations depends on the offense being charged. For example, if the defendant is charged with a petty offense involving theft, the statute of limitations is likely six months. Whereas, if the defendant is charged with felony theft, the statute of limitations is likely three years.

For example, if someone is being charged for a petty offense of embezzlement, they cannot be charged if six months have passed. However, if the crime was more severe, prosecutors would have more time to develop a case and bring charges against the suspect.

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Additional Resources

Colorado Revised Statutes – Statute of Limitations: The Colorado Legal Resource website provides the statute of limitations for every crime that a suspect could currently be convicted of in Colorado.

Community Financials: The Community Financials website provides community embezzlement case studies to show the facts of a case and how it can be prevented.

Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions (2021): Chapter 4-4 of the Colorado Criminal Jury Instructions provides information on jury instructions during trials dealing with theft offenses.

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Colorado Embezzlement Lawyer | Denver, CO

Have you or someone you know been accused of embezzlement in Denver, CO? Criminal defense attorney Matthew Martin at Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. will help you understand the charges against you and mount a strong defense for your case. He is here to make sure those criminal accusations do not haunt you for the rest of your life.

The sooner you contact Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C., the better. Law Office of Matthew A. Martin, P.C. serves clients in the Denver, Co area including Boulder, Englewood, Greenwood Village, Littleton, and Aurora.

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