Looking for a trusted, experienced, and reputable embezzlement attorney? Fresno criminal defense attorney Mark Broughton believes everyone has a right to a fair trial, and he may be able to help.
What is Embezzlement?
The legal definition of embezzlement in California, under Penal Code 503, is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. There are certain elements that must be true in order for a person to be found guilty of embezzlement charges. All of the following must be true:
- The owner of the property entrusted you with the property (this can be done directly or through an agent).
- The owner did this because they trusted you with their property.
- You used that property or fraudulently converted it for your own gain.
- You intended to rob the owner of the property or its use.
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“Mr. Broughton is top notch. My son was facing a felony, strike charge. Mr. Broughton fought for my son’s pre-trial release against the recommendation of the probation department, and my son was able to come home. Today, the case was resolved and the outcome was minor in comparison to the charge. I highly recommend Mark Broughton!”
“He is an amazing lawyer, I had a near impossible felony case and he helped me bring it down to a misdemeanor. Amazing personality and a kind human being!”
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Elements of Embezzlement
Trust from the Owner
You can only be charged with embezzlement if you were in a position of trust or if the owner entrusted their property to you. This could happen if:
- You were an employee of the owner
- You were the “bailee” of the owner’s property – meaning you had temporary possession of the property
- You were part of an organization and had the right to manage its money or property
Using or Fraudulently Taking the Property
You can only be charged with embezzlement if you used or fraudulently took the property for personal use or personal gain. This could happen if:
- You take excessive advantage of another person, or
- You caused a loss to the owner by breaking their trust
Intending to Rob the Owner of the Property or Its Use
You can only be guilty of embezzlement if you intend to deprive the owner of their property or its use. You don’t have to deprive them of their property permanently, it could only be temporarily. Even if you intend to return or repay it later, it is still embezzlement. The intention of return or repayment is not a valid defense.
Penalties for Embezzlement Conviction
The penalties for the crime of embezzlement vary depending on the value of the property and/or amount of money that was embezzled. Embezzlement laws make a distinction in the type of theft between grand theft embezzlement and petty theft embezzlement.
Penalties for Grand Theft Embezzlement
Embezzlement is considered grand theft under Penal Code 487 if any of the following are true:
- The property embezzled was worth more than $950
- An automobile was embezzled (becomes a form of grand theft auto)
- A firearm was embezzled (becomes a form of grand theft firearm)
In State Court, grand theft embezzlement could also be smaller items that add up to $950 in a 12-month period.
In most cases, grand theft embezzlement is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the circumstance of the case and if the defendant has a criminal record or any other criminal history. If the property embezzled was a firearm, then it is always a felony.
Misdemeanor Theft Embezzlement Penalties
- Misdemeanor probation
- A fine up to $1,000
Counterfeiting Credit Card Penalties
The penalties for counterfeiting card cards vary depending on how it was counterfeited. The penalties include:
- Felony probation
- A fine up to $10,000
Felony Grand Theft Embezzlement of Firearms Penalties
- Felony probation
- A fine up to $10,000
There are additional penalties as well if the owner of the property suffered a particularly high loss of monetary value.
Potential Sentence Enhancements for Felony Embezzlement of High-Value Property
- For more than $65,000 – 1 additional year
- For more than $200,000 – 2 additional years
- For more than $1,300,000 – 3 additional years
- For more than $3,200,000 – 4 additional years
Penalties for Petty Theft Embezzlement
Under California Penal Code 488, the embezzlement offense is considered petty theft embezzlement when the value is under $950. Embezzlement petty theft is a misdemeanor, and the potential penalties include any of the following:
- Misdemeanor probation
- A fine up to $1,000
Have you been legally accused of embezzlement? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal representation for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire the best Embezzlement Defense Attorney in Fresno who understands your situation and the consequences you face.
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Your Embezzlement Attorney, Fresno
I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with White Collar Crimes such as Credit Card Fraud, Insurance Fraud, Mortgage Fraud, and Prescription Drug Fraud, to name a few.
About Mark Broughton:
Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:
Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.
He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.
Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.
- Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
- Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
- Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section
Mark Broughton enjoys close attorney-client relationships with his clients. He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy, and he believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.
Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.
I began my legal career in San Diego where I practiced criminal law, civil litigation, and personal injury. After a very successful practice there for 17 years, my family and I moved to Fresno, California, in 1995. Since that time, I have practiced exclusively criminal law. I was the Chief Defense Attorney for a 17 attorney criminal defense law firm that handled 3-4,000 felony cases a year. I left that firm to associate and partner with a very successful criminal law practitioner where I am continuing my commitment help protect the Constitutional rights of my clients.
I estimate that I have conducted over 200 jury trials – with my practice areas covering everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.
I have received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for my clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found my clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row. I have handled all kinds of criminal and related criminal proceedings, from violation of probation and parole hearings, DMV hearings, writs & appeals, and many other types of proceedings in the criminal process.
I have practiced all over California, in both state and Federal Court. I am qualified as a death penalty lawyer and am on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where I am regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court. One of my greatest pleasures over my long career has been to teach and train young lawyers and law students. Most of them have gone on to be successful lawyers in their own right, and have triumphantly represented their own clients in an honest and professional way.
Community Involvement & Family
I have been involved in many community organizations, taught classes at the local law school, been a Mock Trial Attorney Judge and team coach, served as Judge Pro-Tempore for the Fresno County Superior Court, given many seminars to other attorneys, and started an organization for criminal defense lawyers to share useful information among themselves. Above all, I enjoy helping reunite my clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them. This is particularly true where alcohol or substance abuse issues have ripped formerly close and loving families apart.
I have saved the many letters of appreciation from clients and their families to whom I have been fortunate enough to have been of service. It is most gratifying for me to see them get back together, overcome their difficulties, and live happy and fulfilled lives. Helping people is, after all, what being a good lawyer is all about. I like going to football and baseball games, fishing, surfing, and going to Hawaii where I can get caught up on my reading list and swim in the warm waters of the Pacific. I love sharing the lives of my two children, two grandchildren and spending time with Andrea, my wife of over 30 years.
When you hire a criminal defense lawyer, you can expect to receive the benefit of their experience and expertise with criminal legal proceedings. Your lawyer will look at all the details of your case, form a strategy for fighting the charges against you, and speak for you to help you obtain the best possible outcome. You can expect your criminal defense lawyer to consider all the legal defenses for the charges you’re facing and explain all of your options. You should expect them to be ethical and honest with you, and for them to treat you with compassion and respect. You’ll get all of this when you hire Mark Broughton as your criminal defense lawyer, and you should accept no less from anyone else.
Criminal defense lawyers look for nuances of evidence and details in your case that may prevent you from being found legally guilty of the crimes you’re charged with. The prosecutor has to prove you committed the crime beyond a reasonable doubt … your criminal defense lawyer looks for things that support the reasonable doubt. They also look for procedures not properly followed and anything that they can use to give you a positive outcome. They look for holes and things missing in the case against you. A good criminal defense lawyer like Mark Broughton will look for everything they can use to fight for you.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the criminal lawyer defending you and confident in their ability to get you the best outcome possible. You’ll have many questions running through your mind that you’ll want to ask. Here are 10 important questions that should be on your list:
- How long have you been a criminal defense lawyer?
- Do you have experience with the criminal charges I’m facing?
- Do you have experience with the court that’s handling/hearing my case?
- Do you hold any special certifications or qualifications that relate to the crimes I’m charged with?
- How big is your firm?
- Will I be working directly with you?
- Does my case have to go to trial?
- How much is working with you going to cost me?
- How often will I communicate with you?
- Why should I choose you to represent me?
If you’ve been accused or charged with a crime, you need an objective, experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side to help you defend yourself. You can’t just ignore the charges and hope they’ll go away. They won’t. And you can’t expect a business attorney or family law attorney to have the same skills as a Criminal Law Specialist. If you’re facing criminal charges, that’s the kind of lawyer you need on your side. Even better is a criminal attorney who has experience with the specific charges — DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, gang crimes, weapons charges, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, murders, etc. — that you’re facing. Mark Broughton is certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Criminal Law.
If you’ve been legally accused of a crime, arrested, or are facing criminal charges that may result in jail time or other legal consequences, you should hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The criminal defense process can be complex and challenging, and you want someone on your side to help you through it and protect your rights … right from the start. It’s important to take your charges seriously and to hire a criminal defense attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face. Don’t wait, and don’t just hope for the best. Get the help you need to get the best outcome possible.
Whether it’s better to plead or go to trial depends on the specific details of your case and is a question that must be answered on an individual basis. This is an important decision and should not be made without fully considering all the facts of your case. You also should not make this decision on your own. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you determine which option gives you the best chance for the most positive outcome in your specific situation.
A plea hearing is when you respond “guilty,” “not guilty,” or “no contest” to the charges against you. This happens in court before a judge, but it is not the actual trial itself. After you enter your plea, the judge will either release you with your promise to return to court for your trial, set a bail amount and send you to jail until the bail is posted, or send you to jail without a bail option. What the judge chooses is based on the seriousness of your charges, any past history, and a variety of other circumstances … including your plea itself. Your criminal defense lawyer will help you prepare for your plea hearing and explain all the options available to you in your specific case.
If you plead not guilty but are found guilty at trial, you will then receive sentencing. Sentencing may include imprisonment or probation, with or without fines. Even if you’re found guilty, your criminal defense lawyer can present arguments for a minimal or reduced sentence. If you are found guilty, you also still have the right to appeal your guilty verdict to try to get your conviction overturned. A good criminal defense lawyer will still fight to get you the best possible outcome.
If you go to trial and lose, the next step is the sentencing hearing. The sentencing hearing is when the judge will impose your sentence after hearing additional arguments from your defense lawyer and the prosecution about the appropriate penalty based on the proven facts and situation of your specific case. A good defense lawyer will still fight for you to get the best possible sentence for your circumstances. Even if you have been found guilty, you still have the right to fair sentencing, so it’s important to hire a defense lawyer who will continue to fight for you all the way through.
It’s not up to the defense lawyer if your conviction will be overturned. That ruling is made by the appellate court. But your defense lawyer can and should give you their professional opinion as to whether there are grounds for appeal and what the possible, and likely, results of an appeal may be. Other ways to overturn a conviction include filing a motion for a new trial or filing a writ of habeas corpus. Your defense lawyer can advise you on what approach is appropriate for your specific case.
Your defense lawyer can file motions to suppress evidence and get it thrown out, however, it’s the court’s decision whether to grant or deny the motions. There are different arguments a criminal defense lawyer can make to get evidence thrown out, and an experienced attorney like Mark Broughton will know which ones apply to your case and the evidence obtained against you. A good criminal defense lawyer will fight for you, including getting as much evidence thrown out as they can.