Embezzlement is a form of financial fraud, and it consists of the act of withholding money or other assets for the sole purpose of conversion of said assets. Wisconsin citizens have seen this act carried out first-hand with the recent news of Cheryl A. Angell, the former union treasurer of Wisconsin, whom the United States Department of Justice sentenced to 13 months in prison for the offense of embezzlement.
On June 19th, Angell pleaded guilty to embezzling $98,711 over the course of four years from union funds. In addition to prison time, the Department of Justice also ordered Angell to pay back the money to United Steelworkers Local 2. Over the years, Angell wrote herself over 100 checks. She was able to use a union credit card for her own use, and this allowed her to deposit the money into her account. An investigation revealed she spent a large sum of the money at casinos.
The goal of such a harsh sentence from U.S. Attorney Matthew D. Krueger was to prevent other people from following similar actions. Krueger released a statement as follows: "Anyone who, like Ms. Angell, steals from fellow union members after being entrusted to act in their best interest must know that significant consequences will follow."
The amount embezzled affects penalties
Ordinarily, the penalties for embezzlement in the state of Wisconsin ultimately come down to the value of the property stolen. For example, in many cases, if an individual embezzles less than $2,500, the charge would likely be a misdemeanor. Anything more than that typically becomes upgraded to felony charges.
Someone who faces allegations of embezzlement should learn about the many defenses available based on the unique circumstances of the case. Typically, an argument as to the true value of the assets allegedly embezzled is part of an effective defense strategy.