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What are the penalties for embezzlement?

Residents in Arizona should have a good understanding of what constitutes embezzlement in the state because it extends to more than just stealing money from a corporation. There are different tiers of the crime, depending on the amount of money or type of property taken, and each one comes with its own consequences. 

According to FindLaw, in Arizona embezzlement occurs when someone steals goods or money from a property to which they have legal access but not official ownership. Charges for this type of theft range from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 2 felony. The lowest penalty refers to the embezzlement of an amount of less than $1,000 and includes three years of probation, a maximum jail time of six months and a maximum fine of $2,500. A class 2 felony is charged when more than $25,000 is embezzled, and it comes with jail time ranging from 4 to 12.5 years and a maximum fine of $1,000. For some of the other classes of felonies, embezzlement charges can occur for the stealing of a vehicle transmission or engine, an animal for animal-fighting purposes or a firearm.

If you are wondering how embezzlement can happen, the Arizona Sun Times reports about a former NAU employee who was indicted for six felonies related to embezzlement while he worked at the university. According to the auditor's report, he supposedly stole $354,902 by creating fictitious vendors and making payments to them from the university's credit cards and checks over the span of 16 years. To help hide his criminal activity, he made false credit card reports, fabricated information in the accounting software and created false invoices.

His embezzlement was discovered when the university implemented a new accounting software program and audited all purchasing card activity. The former employee eventually took responsibility for over $12,000 of the missing money and paid it back.  



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