Free Consultation

(253) 272-8666

Are you facing
criminal charges?

We will fight to protect you.

Request A Free Evaluation

Latest Posts

  1. What Is Fourth-Degree Assault in Washington State?

    Leave a Comment

    Assaulting another person can take the form of many acts of violence, from throwing an object at someone to slapping him or her during an argument. However, the state of Washington does not all acts of criminal assault in the same way. Different degrees of assault carry different penalties, such as jail time, probation, and fines. Fourth-degree assault in Washington is the lowest assault charge you can receive, but it also carries significant consequences.

    Assault and Domestic Violence in Washington State

    Washington defines assault as an attempted battery on another person, which includes the unauthorized application of force or offensive touching of another person’s body. Assault charges often occur in domestic violence cases; domestic violence occurs when one family or household member threatens or commits violence against another family or household member.

    Washington categorizes assault charges by degree. First and second-degree assault charges are the most serious, while third and fourth-degree charges are less violent. Fourth-degree assault charges are some of the most common assault charges you can receive – often, if someone accuses you of domestic violence, you can receive a charge for fourth-degree assault as well.

    What Is Fourth-Degree Assault?

    Washington state law defines fourth-degree assault as an attempted battery on another person that causes contact that a reasonable person would find offensive. To receive a fourth-degree assault charge for domestic violence, the other person must be one of your family or household members.

    Despite the serious connotations of the word assault, injury does not have to occur to the victim for law enforcement officers to arrest you – all the victim has to do is claim to law enforcement that you touched them in an offensive manner.

    Potential Penalties for Fourth-Degree Assault

    Fourth-degree assault charges are gross misdemeanor, which is more severe than a regular misdemeanor. As a result, the penalties are much more severe than other misdemeanor crime – the state believes a fourth-degree assault charge shows a disregard for human life.

    With a fourth-degree assault charge, you could receive a punishment of up to 364 days in jail. In addition, you may also have to pay a hefty fine up to $5,000. You will lose the right to possess a firearm and the police officers may issue a no-contact order, prohibiting you from interacting with the victim.

    The Threshold for Fourth-Degree Assault Arrest

    It does not take much for police to arrest you on a fourth-degree domestic violence assault charge. If the police arrive to the scene of the alleged assault and have reason to believe that unwanted touching occurred to the victim by you, the officers can place you under arrest. However, the assault must have occurred within the last four hours.

    Sometimes, the alleged victim will call the police for assault, even if no crime actually occurred. He or she may think that he or she could drop the charges in the future – but this is not the case. Once a domestic violence arrest is in progress, the alleged victim cannot drop the charges or dismiss the case. Only the prosecution has the power to drop the charges against you, even if the victim refuses to testify.

    Do You Need an Attorney for Fourth-Degree Assault Charges?

    The moments after an arrest for assault in Washington can be disorienting and scary. However, it is important that you remain calm and cooperate with law enforcement. Remember, do not speak to anyone until you speak to a defense attorney – and you are going to need an attorney for your case.

    If you are facing assault charges in Washington state, you need an attorney to guide you through the process and advocate for your best interests. Using the court-provided attorney or representing yourself can lower your chances of obtaining the best possible outcome. Before you speak to any investigator or prosecutor, contact a defense attorney as soon as possible to discuss the facts of your case.

  2. What Is the Penalty for Trespassing in Washington State?

    Leave a Comment

    We all have the right to feel safe and secure on our private property, whether it be our homes, businesses, or other pieces of land. Because of this right, Washington state frowns upon trespassing and can impose severe penalties if you find yourself on someone else’s property uninvited. Depending on the circumstances, trespassing penalties can include fines and jail time in Washington.

    Washington’s Definition of Trespassing

    Trespassing occurs if you are on someone else’s private property without his or her permission, as well as staying on someone’s property after he or she asks you to leave. You must knowingly or intentionally trespass to receive a criminal conviction – if you accidentally wander onto someone’s property, you will not typically face a criminal charge.

    Under Washington state law, there are two basic types of trespassing charges: criminal trespassing in the first degree and criminal trespassing in the second degree.

    • To receive a charge for criminal trespass in the first degree, you must knowingly enter or remain unlawfully in a building. This crime is a gross misdemeanor.
    • To receive a charge for criminal trespass in the second degree, you must knowingly enter or remain unlawfully on someone else’s property. However, the circumstances surrounding your trespass do not qualify for a first-degree charge. This crime is a misdemeanor.

    Potential Penalties for Trespassing in Washington

    You could receive significant penalties for trespassing in Washington state. All trespassing charges are either misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors, depending on the degree of the crime.

    • For a misdemeanor charge for trespass in the second degree, you could receive up to 90 days in jail and a fine up to $1,000.
    • For a gross misdemeanor charge for trespass in the first degree, you could face up to 1 year in jail and a fine up to $5,000.

    For the state to convict you of these charges, the prosecution will need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed an act of criminal trespass. There are several acceptable defenses to these charges, including the following.

    • The building was open to the public.
    • You reasonably believed you had a right to be on the premises.
    • The owners abandoned the building.
    • You were attempting to serve legal process to the person accusing you of trespassing. You can only use this defense if you entered a building that was open to the public and your entry into the building was necessary and reasonable.

    Hiring an attorney can help you determine if any of the above defenses can apply to your case. Your attorney will examine key pieces of evidence such as surveillance footage and property records. In addition, he or she will speak to witnesses, request expert testimony, and use his or her knowledge of Washington criminal law to help build a compelling case in your favor.

    What to Do If You Receive a Trespassing Charge

    If police officers are arresting you for trespassing in Washington state, remain calm and cooperate with law enforcement. Listen carefully to your Miranda rights and pay attention to what is happening at the scene – make note of why you were at the property and whether or not the owner gave you reason to believe that you belonged there.

    Do not speak to any investigators until after you contact a defense attorney. The prosecution could use what you say against you in a future hearing, leading to reduced chances for the best possible outcome. Speaking to your lawyer is crucial to ensuring that your case stays as strong as possible.

    Trespassing charges can be damaging to your freedom and your wallet – but having a defense attorney on your side can help you obtain the best possible outcome. While every case is different and you may not see the same results as others, your attorney could argue for a reduced sentence or even convince the court to drop the charges altogether. As soon as possible after your arrest, contact a Tacoma criminal defense attorney to discuss your trespassing charges.

  3. What Happens If You Fail to Register as a Sex Offender in Washington?

    Leave a Comment

    Sex offenses, from child pornography to sexual assault, carry significant penalties in the state of Washington. Depending on the severity of the charge, you may have to spend time in prison, pay fines, and register as a sex offender for a period of time. Sex offender registration can feel shameful, but you must comply with this court order for as long as the state requires you to – failure to register as a sex offender can lead to severe consequences.

    Washington Sex Offender Registration Requirements

    The purpose of sex offender registration is to inform the public of anyone who could pose a threat to them or their children in their local area. The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children Registration Act is a federal law that requires all states, including Washington, to implement these databases.

    In Washington, if you have a conviction for a sex offense or the court found you not guilty by reason of insanity for a sex offense, you must register in the sex offender databases. Not all sex offense convictions are eligible for registrations, but most convictions do include this requirement.

    You have to register with the sheriff’s department of the county you are living in, employed in, or enrolled in school in. If you received the conviction outside of the state of Washington, you must also register when you move to Washington.

    Under state law, you have to register within a very quick timeframe. You only have three days from the day you move to Washington, the state releases you from prison, or when you receive your sentence. Failure to register on time could lead to additional legal issues as well, so it is important that you adhere to these deadlines.

    Penalties for Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

    If you do not register as a sex offender within the three-day period, you could face additional penalties on top of your sex offense charge. Depending on the nature of your initial sex offense, you could receive a gross demeanor or felony charge. The state takes the nature of your sex offense into consideration when determining your punishment.

    • The first time you fail to register, you could face between 0 to 12 months in prison.
    • The second and subsequent times you fail to register can lead to prison sentences that last anywhere between 0 to 57 months.

    In addition, you must submit a DNA sample if you fail to register. You will not be able to participate in a Sex Offender Sentencing Alternative or a Drug Offender Sentencing Alternative program.

    However, you may be able to participate in a community center alternative sentencing program for your first failure to register conviction. You may also be eligible for electronic house detention. You will lose eligibility for these programs for any subsequent failure to register offenses.

    How Long Will You Have to Register?

    Your conviction will dictate how long you need to register, along with whether or not you need to register at all. Common sex offenses that require registration include child molestation, rape, and sexual misconduct with a minor.

    While the length of time you have to register depends on your conviction, Washington does use these guidelines when determining your registration requirements.

    • If your offense is a Class A felony, a federal conviction, or an out-of-state conviction, you will have to register indefinitely.
    • If your offense is a Class B felony and you do not have any prior convictions, you have to register for fifteen years from your date of release.
    • If your offense is a Class C felony and you do not have any prior convictions, you have to register for ten years from your date of release.

    Registering as a sex offender in Washington can feel very shameful and embarrassing – especially if this data is public for everyone to see. However, it is important to follow your registration requirements and avoid additional criminal charges. If you have any questions about your registration or are facing a failure to register charge, contact your defense attorney as soon as possible.

  4. Domestic Violence Laws in Washington

    Leave a Comment

    Washington treats domestic violence, or violence against a family or household member, as a very serious crime. If you are facing domestic violence charges, you may experience a significant shift in your life after a conviction. Hiring an attorney to assist you with your case can help you receive the best possible outcome – but make sure that your attorney is familiar with the following state laws on domestic violence.

    What Does Domestic Violence Include?

    Contrary to the popular definition, domestic violence is not the same as intimate partner violence. Washington state law defines domestic violence as violence against a member of the same household or a family member by blood or marriage.

    That means law enforcement can arrest you for violence against a parent, child, or sibling, along with significant others. Domestic violence protections also extend to any adults living in your home, regardless of relation.

    There are five primary categories of abusive behaviors that a domestic violence charge can include.

    • Physical violence
    • Emotional abuse
    • Sexual assault
    • Economic control
    • Neglect

    Many different crimes can fall into these categories. Common charges include assault, manslaughter, rape and reckless endangerment. Some of the less common domestic violence crimes include cyberstalking, property damage, and interfering with the reporting of domestic violence.

    What Happens During a Domestic Violence Arrest?

    When a law enforcement officer responds to an incident of probable domestic violence, the law requires that he or she makes a mandatory arrest. Police officers do not need a warrant to make a domestic violence arrest with probably cause – but the alleged assault must have occurred within four hours.

    If multiple household members were assaulting each other, the officer will arrest the person he or she believes is the primary aggressor in the situation. The victim cannot request that the police drop the charges or stop the arrest. Only a prosecutor has the authority to dismiss the case – even if the victim doesn’t provide testimony.

    Potential Penalties for Domestic Violence Charges

    Criminal penalties for domestic violence vary based on the severity of the crime. All people convicted of a domestic violence crime must pay a special $100 fee. Depending on the charge, a domestic violence crime can be either a misdemeanor or a felony.

    • If you receive a misdemeanor conviction for a domestic violence charge, you could spend up to 90 days in jail and pay a fine up to $1,000.
    • If you receive a gross misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence, you coule pay up to $5,000 in fines and spend up to one year in jail.
    • If you receive a felony conviction for a domestic violence charge, you could spend at least one year in jail or more.

    In addition, no person who receives a conviction for domestic violence assault cannot own a gun or have a permit for concealed carry in Washington. The police may order you to stay away from the alleged victim by issuing a protective or no-contact order – violation of these orders can lead to additional felony charges, fines, and jail time.

    What to Do After a Domestic Violence Arrest

    If law enforcement officers arrest you for domestic violence in Washington state, it is important not to fight back against the officers or to fight the alleged victim. Listen carefully to your Miranda rights during the arrest and remember to stay silent – anything you say could hurt your case in the future.

    Do not speak to any investigator or officer until you contact a domestic violence defense attorney. After the officers release you from holding, do not attempt to contact the alleged victim – this could be a violation of a protective or no-contact order, which can lead to additional penalties.

    If you are facing charges for domestic violence in Washington, stay calm and cooperate with law enforcement and contact an attorney as soon as you can. Your attorney will listen to your side of the story, gather evidence and testimony, and help prepare you for the courtroom.

  5. How to Select a Criminal Defense Attorney

    Leave a Comment

    Navigating criminal charges can be a scary and stressful time. When you need a criminal defense attorney to assist you through these pending charges, you want to ensure you are choosing the best firm and individual possible. With so many attorneys available on the market, how can you make an informed decision?

    Here are a few tips to help you choose the right Tacoma criminal defense attorney for you.

    Look at the Practice Areas

    Different attorneys and law firms specialize in different areas of the law. You may know not to hire a personal injury lawyer for your criminal case, but hiring a defense attorney who specializes in sexual assault charges to represent your DUI charge would not be a good decision either. On most law firms’ websites, they list the different practice areas they specialize in and discuss the results they can provide their clients. Look for a firm that specializes in the area you need assistance with.

    Find Someone in Your Area

    Court systems are independent networks in themselves. If you know where your case is pending, try to find an attorney who has experience representing cases at that specific courthouse or in your county. That way, your attorney will likely know who will be involved in your case and how they behave in the courtroom, such as police offices, prosecutors, judges, and other expert witnesses. The more comfortable the defense attorney is with the courthouse, the more comfortable he or she will likely be with your case.

    Understand the Attorney’s Fee Arrangement

    Criminal attorneys’ costs can vary based on experience, location, and reputation. Lawyers who have a strong track record tend to charge more than those who do not have a high success rate. The key is to find a lawyer who works with your budget and has solid experience in the area you need representation in.

    Criminal attorneys can either charge by the hour or charge a flat fee. Depending on the firm, you may have to pay additional expenses outside of the fee. Make sure to shop around and ask each firm about their specific fee arrangements.

    Check Out Reviews and Talk to People You Know

    You can gain a good sense of how a lawyer operates by speaking to people who have worked with him or her in the past. Ask trusted friends and family members if they have worked with any attorneys who they could recommend to you. If you have any connections who practice law or work in the justice system, they may be able to refer you to someone who may be able to handle your case.

    You can also look at the lawyer’s online reviews to see what past clients have to say about working with him or her. If a lawyer has poor reviews or a certain issue, such as a lack of communication, pops up in several reviews, you may want to find another option. However, good reviews usually equal a great attorney to work with.

    Take Advantage of the Free Consultation

    One of the best ways to gain a sense of how the defense attorney works and whether you feel comfortable working with him or her is to meet in person. Most firms offer a free consultation to clients, where you can go to their office and speak to an attorney about your case. Listen to what he or she says about your legal options and how he or she could help you through your court process. Be sure to ask the attorney questions about how he or she operates: how often does the attorney communicate? Will you be working directly with him or her, or will you work with a paralegal or case manager? Does the attorney have experience in your practice area? Once you vet the attorneys in person, you can take steps to hire the right one for your case.

    Once you have identified the right firm to represent your case, call them and schedule your free consultation as soon as possible. The sooner you get in touch with an attorney, the sooner you can begin building a compelling case for your future.

  6. Washington’s Good Samaritan Law

    Leave a Comment

    The opioid crisis is impacting communities across the United States, including many in Washington state. Many people refrain from seeking help with opioid abuse due to fear of the law, putting themselves and their loved ones at risk of overdose death, avoiding the hospital or emergency services in dangerous situations. However, Washington’s Good Samaritan Law aims to make it easier for people to seek help with drug addiction, providing immunity from criminal prosecution.

    The Opioid Epidemic in Washington State

    According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opioid overdose deaths have increased in Washington over the past decade, particularly involving synthetic opioids such as fentanyl. In 2017 alone, Washington saw 742 opioid overdose deaths – that’s a rate of 9.6 deaths per 100,000 people in the state.

    While prescription opioid deaths have decreased slightly from 474 in 2010 to 343 in 2017, increases in other types of opioid overdoses show a frightening trend. In 2010, 60 people in Washington state died from a heroin overdose – but in 2017, this statistic increased to 306 deaths by heroin. The fastest growing source of opioid overdose is synthetic opioids, particularly fentanyl. Synthetic opioid-related deaths grew from 59 deaths in 2013 to 143 deaths in 2017.

    What Is the Good Samaritan Law?

    Under Washington law, the state protects anyone who is helping someone suffering from a medical emergency from civil liabilities, but the state did not extend the same protections to criminal charges. However, the 911 Good Samaritan Overdose Law changes this for people seeking medical attention for alcohol and drug overdoses.

    This law allows for people assisting someone having an overdose and the overdose victim to gain immunity from certain criminal charges. The goal of this law is to decrease the amount of opioid, alcohol, and other drug-related deaths in the state and make it easier for people to seek help when they need it.

    • If someone in Washington seeks medical assistant for a drug-related overdose, he or she cannot receive a charge for drug possession.
    • If someone in Washington is experiencing an overdose, he or she cannot receive a drug possession charge.
    • Anyone in Washington who might experience or witness an opioid overdose can carry and administer naloxone.

    The Good Samaritan law grants immunity to anyone who is making a good faith effort to seek medical assistance for an overdose, whether it be for opioids, alcohol poisoning, or another substance. Good faith efforts include calling 911, seeking the assistance of a friend in the medical field, or bringing someone to the emergency room.

    Other Criminal Charges and the Good Samaritan Law

    While the Good Samaritan law does provide protection against drug possession charges, it does not grant immunity for all drug-related charges. A person can still receive charges related to drug manufacturing or delivery, probation or parole violations, outstanding warrants, and other charges.

    One situation that could land a person in legal trouble would be if the overdose victim dies and the person seeking medical attention provided the victim with the drugs that killed them. A judge could charge this person with controlled substance homicide, but if the person did seek help in good faith, he or she may see a reduced sentence.

    Alcohol and the Good Samaritan Law

    While most uses of the Good Samaritan law involve the use of dangerous and illegal drugs, the state amended the law in 2013 to include alcohol use by minors. Alcohol poisoning is a deadly condition that comes several lives every year, but minors are less likely to seek help for it due to fear of getting in trouble. Minors under the age of 21 can seek medical attention for a peer if he or she is suffering from an alcohol overdose and receive immunity from alcohol possession charges.

    Washington’s Good Samaritan law provides opportunities for people to seek help when they need it, hopefully reducing the amount of alcohol and drug-related deaths that the state sees each year. If someone receives a possession charge after helping a loved one during an overdose, he or she should seek a Tacoma criminal defense attorney’s help as soon as possible.

  7. Washington DUI Laws 2019

    Leave a Comment

    In Washington, along with the rest of the United States, it is illegal to drive a vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Driving under the influence is very dangerous, putting the lives of the driver, pedestrians, and other drivers on the road at risk. As a result, the state of Washington imposes some serious administrative and criminal penalties if a police officer catches you driving under the influence.

    What Counts as a DUI in Washington?

    When most people think about DUIs, they usually think of drinking and driving. While alcohol plays a major role in many DUI cases each year, you can also receive a DUI charge after using other substances such as illegal and prescription drugs. Washington law enforcement can charge you with a DUI if you are driving under any of the following conditions:

    • You are 21 years or older and have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher.
    • You have THC in your blood, which is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Having a concentration of five nanograms or higher of THC per milliliter of blood in your system is grounds for DUI.
    • You have used drugs or alcohol to an extent that they impair your ability to drive.
    • You are under the age of 21 and have a BAC of .02% or higher.
    • You are operating a commercial vehicle and have a BAC of .04% or higher.

    DUI charges range in severity based on a few factors. The higher your BAC or THC concentration, the more severe your charge will be. In addition, if you get into an accident while impaired by alcohol and drugs and cause significant injury, property damage, or death, you will receive a higher charge. First offenders usually receive lower penalties than individuals facing their second, third, or subsequent DUI charge.

    DUI Penalties in Washington State

    When you receive a DUI charge in Washington, you can receive any mix of administrative penalties, fines, and jail time.

    • If you are convicted of a first offense DUI in Washington, you can face jail time from 24 hours to one year. The state may take away your license from 90 days to one year, and you will have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You may also have to pay a fine between $865.50 to $5,000.
    • Second-offense DUI charges carry potential jail time sentences between 30 days up to one year. The state will require an ignition interlock device and take your license away for two years up to 900 days. You may have to pay a fine between $1,120.50 to $5,000.
    • Third-offense DUI charges involve jail time between 90 days to one year. You could lose your license for three to four years and have to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. You could pay a fine between $1,970.50 to $5,000.

    When a police officer pulls you over for suspicion of driving under the influence, he or she will ask you to take a chemical test. Under Washington’s implied consent law, you could face penalties if you refuse to take this test. You can receive a license suspension between one and three years and additional fines.

    What to Do If You Are Arrested for DUI in Washington

    If a police officer pulls you over on suspicion of DUI, comply with him or her. Take the chemical and field sobriety tests as required – if you refuse, you could face additional penalties. As soon as possible, contact a Tacoma DUI attorney to assist you with the court and administrative processes.

    Navigating the aftermath of a DUI offense can be overwhelming, but an attorney who specializes in DUI defense can help explain your options. Your attorney can advise you on what steps to take following the arrest and help you prepare for your Department of Motor Vehicles hearing and court arraignment.

  8. Can the Police Enter Your Home Without a Warrant?

    Leave a Comment

    If you are under investigation for a crime, police officers may show up at your home looking for evidence. They may demand to enter your property, but when you ask them for a warrant, they do not produce one. In most situations, the police cannot enter your home unless they have a signed warrant from a judge – but there are some circumstances in which the police do not need a warrant to search you. If you feel your home has been unlawfully searched, contact a Tacoma criminal defense lawyer.

    Unreasonable Searches and Seizures Are Unconstitutional

    In the United States, our Constitution gives us a set of certain rights that others cannot take away, from freedom of speech and religion to our right to a fair trial. The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifically protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures by law enforcement officers. We all have the right to feel secure in our “persons, houses, papers, and effects,” and unreasonable searches without a warrant violate this constitutional right.

    According to the Fourth Amendment, the police cannot enter your home without a warrant from a court of law. A judge must sign the warrant and the warrant must give a description of the items that the police are trying to seize, as well as a description of your residence or premises. If a police officer enters your home and obtains evidence without a warrant, that evidence is inadmissible in a court of law.

    In What Situations Can a Police Enter Your Home Without a Warrant?

    While the Constitution does broadly protect us from unreasonable searches and seizures, there are some specific circumstances in which the police can enter your home without a warrant. If the police search your home or seize any evidence under the following situations, they did not violate your Fourth Amendment rights.

    • Consent to search. In some circumstances, the police can enter your property if you or someone else who is in control of the residence gives them permission to do so. The police cannot coerce or trick you into giving consent to a search without a warrant. If you have a roommate or spouse or rent from a landlord, he or she can provide consent to the police as well. However, the police can only search common areas with permission from others, even if your spouse or consent. If the police coerce you, trick you, or search your private quarters without your consent, they are violating your constitutional rights.
    • Exigent circumstances. The police can search your property in some emergency situations. If the process of getting a valid search warrant would impact public safety or lead to a loss of evidence, the police can enter your home without a warrant.
    • The plain view doctrine. Sometimes, police officers have the right to be on your property, but do not have the warrant to search your private residence. They may be responding to an unrelated call or searching for something else. However, if a police officer sees clearly visible evidence or contraband while searching your property, he or she can seize that evidence without a warrant.
    • Search incident to arrest. If the police are arresting you at your home, they have the right to search your home to protect their safety during your arrest. They may look for weapons or accomplices during this time. The police may also search your home to prevent anyone from destroying any evidence.

    If the police enter your home without a warrant and the situation does not fit any of the circumstances above, you may be the victim of an unconstitutional search and seizure. Any evidence they collect would be inadmissible in court.

    The police cannot force or coerce you to enter your home without a warrant or a valid reason. If you believe that the police violated your constitutional rights or you are unsure whether you fit one of the situations above, contact an attorney as soon as possible.

  9. What are Embezzlement Schemes?

    Leave a Comment

    Embezzlement is a costly form of theft that can result in millions of dollars’ worth of damage. Some perpetrators remove a large lump sum of money once from their employer, while others play the long game. In these scenarios, the guilty party removes money in small sums over time – sometimes over the course of a decade.

    Though we might think of embezzling as only dealing with money, it can actually occur in several different ways depending on what assets the perpetrator can get their hands on. In any case, embezzlement increases their net worth while decreasing that of the company/individual they steal from.

    Methods of Embezzlement

    Embezzlers must somehow come in contact with valuable property. The resources that an embezzler has at their disposal typically dictates the method they use to steal.

    Line employees and supervisors often take part in cash embezzlement. This can be done in several ways:

    • Pocketing cash from a transaction
    • Taking cash from other workers’ and/or customers property (ex. purses and backpacks)
    • Stealing change from customers
    • Refunding stolen items and then keeping the cash
    • Stealing cash from a coworker’s work area

    Negotiable document embezzlement can be committed by any level of employee that has access to important documents or can forge important documents. Embezzlers manipulate these documents, reproduce forgeries, and glean important account-related information from certain documents.

    • Money orders
    • Property documents
    • Travelers checks
    • Company checks
    • Refund authorizations

    Account credit schemes often involve creating fake identities and manipulating account information. Account credit embezzlement can take several forms.

    • Manipulating inactive bank accounts, usually owned by senior citizens and foreign account owners
    • Unauthorized bank account transfers
    • Creating fake employees and stealing their payrolls
    • Establishing loans and credit accounts for fake borrowers

    Embezzlers can also steal delivered or received items if they have access to these items within their line of work. This can occur when an employee does one of several different actions.

    • Places items in a dumpster to retrieve after workplace operation
    • Misusing employee benefits for friends and family
    • Stealing raw materials and scrap items after manufacturing processes
    • Manipulating stocks and bonds
    • Manipulating trust funds
    • Stealing equipment and supplies

    Wire transfer is a form of embezzlement that a perpetrator carries out by:

    • Manipulating their employer’s bank accounts and/or bank instructions.
    • Manipulating transfer instructions coming from an external entity.
    • Fabricating customer accounts and/or transfer information.

    Computer embezzlement comes with a myriad of related concepts that illustrate different computer-related embezzlement schemes. These represent the most common schemes that embezzlers use to manipulate accounts are:

    • “Skimming” (or removing small amounts of money) customer accounts. Utilizing “trap door” or “salami” techniques (many small transactions) to skim money, transferring this money to an alternative account.
    • Manipulating the company’s programming, or “data diddling.”
    • Inserting additional commands into the company’s programming, or “trojan horsing,” to make the program run extra unauthorized commands on top of its normal processing.
    • Inserting “logic bombs” commands, or commands that assign specific programming functions to occur at different intervals, like erasing illicit data.

    Famous Embezzlement Cases

    Two famous embezzlement cases have made headlines for their grandiosity, amounting to millions of embezzled dollars.

    The Enron scandal involves this energy giant’s CEO embezzling $11 million through accounting fraud. Operating without government watch due to its deregulation, the CEO of Enron (and its executives) approved the falsification of earnings reports. Moreover, the company staged a fake energy crisis and stole from their employees’ retirement funds. This was shocking to the public because Enron had significant ties to the White House at the time. Once the court ruled the company as guilty, they went bankrupt and CEO Jeff Skilling went to jail.

    Stanford Financial Group of Companies ran one of the most extensive Ponzi schemes in American history. The chairman of the company initiated a 20-year embezzlement scheme that involved selling customers’ deposit certificates to fund his real estate business, his personal business ventures, and betting on cricket tournaments. The court sent Allen Stanford to jail after his illicit business transactions were discovered.

    Successful embezzling schemes are meticulous, sometimes taking years to discover. Business owners beware that even line workers could be guilty of embezzlement, making company security vital. If you believe you’ve been the victim of an embezzlement scheme, contact our Tacoma white collar crimes lawyers to discuss your case.

  10. Hello world!

    Leave a Comment

    Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!