Chicago Federal Crimes Attorney Explains Embezzlement

Posted on in White Collar Crime

embezzlementEmbezzlement is defined as theft of funds that have been placed in a legal trust or to an employer, adversely affecting businesses and people worldwide. Those who are involved in this federal crime often exhibit certain behaviors, such as living beyond their means, complaints about lack of authority, excessive family or peer pressure for success, instability in life situations, and control issues.

Embezzlement Red Flags

Embezzlers often exhibit behaviors that should be interpreted as red flags, according to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners. In over 80 percent of the reported cases, the embezzler has exhibited at least one of these additional behavioral traits in the period before the embezzlement was discovered:

  • Financial difficulties;
  • Unusually close relationship with vendor or customer;
  • Divorce or other family problems;
  • Wheeler-dealer attitude, defined as the attitude of someone who engages in commercial scheming for his or her own benefit;
  • Irritability, suspiciousness, or defensiveness;
  • Addiction problems;
  • Past employment-related problems;
  • Complaints about inadequate pay;
  • Refusal to take vacations;
  • Excessive pressure from within organization; and
  • Past legal problems.


In 2012, the median loss caused by embezzlement was $140,000. Over 20 percent of the embezzlement cases reviewed involved losses of over $1 million. Each year, a business will typically lose about five percent of its revenue to fraud and embezzlement. Unfortunately, many of the losses are never recovered, and businesses and people are left with less property and assets.

Real Life Example

The bank account of a Chicagoland firm was described clearly by prosecutors as a “personal ATM.” A legal secretary took $550,000 from the company for “whatever she needed whenever she needed it.” The legal secretary explained her reasoning for the money by writing unauthorized checks, forging signatures, and writing checks in her name from the firm’s client’s estate. When a check bounced, the embezzlement was finally discovered.

Contact Your Cook County Federal Crime Attorney

Embezzlement is a very serious crime that can lead to life-changing consequences, such as felonies and time in prison, as well as lack of financial security on the victim’s end. If you are accused of embezzlement or have any questions, contact a skilled Chicago federal crimes attorney at 312-629-0669 to get the assistance you deserve. Attorney Hal Garfinkel has over fifteen years of practicing criminal justice law, and he has much experience with handling federal crimes.


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