Los Angeles Government Property Theft Defense Lawyers
Taking possession of government property without permission is a crime that may be prosecuted under a number of different federal statutes. Federal law makes it a crime to steal, embezzle, or convert government property for personal gain.
Theft of government property may involve the misuse of government contracts, Medicare fraud, or providing false information to collect government benefits.
If you have been questioned by prosecutors or you received a target letting informing you that you are under investigation for the misuse of government property, you may be facing stiff fines and federal prison if prosecuted.
Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP are nationally recognized criminal defense attorneys with considerable experience in federal cases. We’ll stand up for you and fight to protect your freedom. Call (213) 688-0460 to learn more today.
Federal law prohibits anyone from intentionally stealing, embezzling, or knowingly converting federal property for personal gain. That means if you take possession of any type of federal property without permission or trade it for something of value, you may be convicted of theft.
The theft of government property may involve embezzlement or larceny. Embezzlement occurs when a person misappropriates funds, goods, or assets that are under their control. This is a crime even if the person plans on returning the embezzled property.
Larceny is the unlawful taking of property that belongs to someone else. There are four elements that must be established to prove larceny:
- The property was wrongful taken.
- The property belonged to someone else.
- The property was taken without the owner’s consent.
- The property was taken with intent to permanently deprive the owner.
Theft of government property occurs when individuals and organizations receive or keep anything of value that belongs to the government, even when they didn’t take it themselves. Any time government property is misappropriated, the government has the right to prosecute whoever is responsible.
Examples of theft of government property include:
- A contractor who charges the government for work that wasn’t completed
- Utilizing a government vehicle for personal use
- A government employee who redirects funds into a personal account
- Using a government computing system to promote a private business
- A medical doctor who bills Medicare for services she never performed
- Continuing to cash someone’s social security checks after they have passed away
Felony penalties for theft of government property include up to 10 years in prison, and up to $250,000 in fines. If the value of the stolen material is less than $1000, the defendant will be charged with a misdemeanor, which carries up to one year in prison. Defendants may also be held civilly liable for value of what was taken.
Being convicted of a felony may affect your right to possess a firearm or maintain a professional license. It can also impact your immigration status.
Effective legal defenses against theft of government property include:
- You were acting within scope of employment
- There’s a lack of evidence of specific intent
- The actions were accidental or done in good faith
- The government lacks the necessary evidence to prover their case
- Your rights were violated by law enforcement
Our Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Werksman Jackson & Quinn LLP have considerable experience defending clients in federal cases. We’ll fight to keep you out of jail and protect your reputation.
Call (213) 688-0460 to learn more today.
Recent Case Results
- Complete Dismissal of Molestation Charges
Attorney Mark Werksman’s 29 year old client was falsely accused of molesting two neighborhood children and was subsequently charged with felony child molestation, with a significant prison sentence hanging over his head should he be convicted. Instead, at the preliminary hearing Werksman was able to convince the court to grant his client a complete dismissal of any charges.
- Decision Set Aside
Client, a college student in a faulty Title IX case, was awarded $130,000 in attorney fees.
- Probation with No Jail Time for Drug Money Laundering Charge
Wilmington man accused in New York federal court of laundering drug money through the sale of laptop computers. Mark was able to get the case transferred to federal court in Los Angeles, where he convinced the United States Attorney to reduce the charges. His client was sentenced to probation with no jail time on a misdemeanor conviction.