If you face embezzlement charges at the federal level, you will need to put together a proper defense. But to do this, you want to understand the points or elements that the prosecutor must prove to convict you.
Knowing the elements of the crime enables you to address each of them and put forward evidence that shows the prosecutor cannot prove them. The U.S. Department of Justice explains there are four elements for the crime of embezzlement.
The prosecutor must prove that you and the business, organization or entity had a relationship where you were trusted with fiduciary duties. For example, you were working as an accountant or in a position where you handled money for the other party.
The prosecutor must show that whatever property you allegedly embezzled came into your possession through employment by the other party. For example, you worked for a business, and you handled the incoming money, so that money would be in your possession through your association with the business. If you did not work for the business, then you would not have access to that money.
Your actions when handling the property were illegal. Essentially, the prosecutor has to prove that you did something with the money to convert or appropriate it without the permission of the owner. This element is basically showing you committed some type of embezzlement crime.
Whatever you did, the prosecutor has to show it was intentional. If the intent is missing, then there is no crime. You need to have done this on purpose. If it occurred due to an accident, then this element is lacking.
The prosecutor must prove all four elements to prove the case. You only need to come up with a defense that disproves one of the elements to throw doubt on the prosecutor’s claims.