white collar crimeWhen you are responsible for raising money for a non-profit, charitable organization you occupy a position of trust in the community. It might seem especially egregious when a charity officer gets charged with embezzling $20,000 from the Bristol Public Library Foundation over the course of the past four years, as was the case with Anita Foster-Machado.

Embezzlement is considered a “white collar crime” along with offenses such as forgery, identity theft and mail fraud. In this case, the theft occurred through the use of the company credit card, which the accused used to make personal purchases. Embezzlement occurs when someone has access to, but not ownership of, money or property that belongs to someone else – usually an employer. It can occur in other situations where someone has been placed in a position of trust, and that person violates that trust and takes money and property that do not belong to him/her.

There are serious penalties for theft in Tennessee

Theft is a serious charge, and the penalties increase with the amount of money or the value of goods stolen. Theft of more than $500 is charged as a felony. Foster-Machado is now facing felony charges for allegedly stealing from funds that she raised to help fund a non-profit organization. In Tennessee theft of $10,000 or more but less than $60,000 is a Class C felony, which can include a fine of up to $10,000. It also carries possible jail time of at least three years but potentially up to 15 years in prison.

Someone in Foster-Machado’s position would be wise to hire a knowledgeable, Tennessee criminal defense attorney to take on her case. Embezzlement cases and other white collar crimes can be complicated to prosecute to conviction. A competent Tennessee criminal defense attorney will help you understand your rights, and develop a strategy for your defense.

The facts of every case are different, and whether you have been charged with shoplifting clothing from the mall to writing bad checks or stealing a car, there are many ways a good attorney can protect your rights as you progress through the system. A good attorney will investigate the facts and counsel you on the best course of action to take for the best possible outcome in your situation.