In the state of Delaware, Del. Code Ann. tit. 11 § 841, embezzlement is classified as theft. This means that an individual obtains, exercises control over, or takes property from a third party with the intent to deprive the owner therefore. Cases of embezzlement are serious cases of theft because it implies the person was in a position of trust.
Delaware Embezzlement Laws and Penalties
Under Delaware Criminal Code, Chapter 5 Specific Offenses, Subchapter III Offenses Involving Property, theft can be classified as a Class B, D, F, or G felony, as well as a Class A misdemeanor. In many cases, restitution will be order as well. Additionally, specific additions have been included in the law. For instance, if the victim of the embezzlement was 62 years or older, an impaired adult, or disabled, theft is seen as a a Class G felony. If the value of the property was over $1,500, it increases to a Class F felony.
Those additions aside, the law states that:
- That theft of property to a value of between $50,000 and $100,000 is a Class D felony.
- That theft of property to a vale above $100,000 is a Class B felony.
That full restitution will always be ordered as well as community service and, where relevant, a curfew.
Delaware Embezzlement Defenses
In Delaware, if someone is to be found guilty of embezzlement, a number of things must happen, which the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt. The defense, therefore, will work on casting that reasonable doubt. What must be proven is that:
- A fiduciary relationship exists between the accused and the victim.
- The property was obtained by the defendant as a result of the fiduciary relationship.
- The defendant must have willfully and intentionally misused the property obtained as a result of the fiduciary relationship.
Delaware Embezzlement Statute of Limitations
Under Delaware Criminal Code, Title 11, Chapter 2 General Provisions Concerning Offenses, § 205 Time limitations, the statute of limitations for the crime of embezzlement is five years from the day the crime was committed, except in cases of a Class A misdemeanor, where it is three years. However, if there is a breach of fiduciary duty, as is the case with embezzlement, an additional three years can be added to the statute of limitations. Furthermore, a statute of limitations may be tolled if the defendant is out of the state or otherwise unable to stand trial.
Delaware Embezzlement Cases
- Embezzlement cases will face tougher penalties in Delaware due to new laws. In July 2012, changes were proposed to legislation by Attorney General Beau Biden and were introduced by Rep. Larry Mitchell and Sen David B. McBide. They were signed into law under House Bill 185 ensuring that those who attempted to embezzle or succeeded in doing so from individuals or organizations would face harsher penalties. One of the reasons for this amendment was that victim organizations were often nonprofits or governmental departments. Tougher penalties were demanded to better fit the crime, showing that embezzlement is a very serious offense.
- Delaware’s LLC law under scrutiny by civic group who depend independent counsel review. The Delaware Coalition for Open Government has joined forces with numerous civic groups, asking the Attorney General Matt Denn to look into the existing governmental system to monitor limited liability companies. They claim that these LLCs are often connected to criminal organizations in relation to sex trafficking, narcotics, embezzlement, and money laundering. The group has requested the appointment of an independent counsel to look at weaknesses with the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act.
- Ex-Delaware school principal sentenced in school fund embezzlement case. Noel Rodriguez, a 56 year old former principal from Dover has been sentenced to a 13 month prison sentence for his role in an embezzlement scheme. Over the course of three years, he was able to embezzle $150,000 from a school. He plead guilty and agreed to pay $145,480 in restitution. He charged personal expenses to school credit cards that he opened, used school credit cards for personal purchases, and abused the school voucher program.
- Former administrator of Family Foundations Academy imprisoned for embezzlement. Sean Moor, the 44 year old former charter school administrator from New Castle, previously known as the Family Foundations Academy, has been imprisoned for 18 months following a conviction for a $162,000 embezzlement scheme. This followed a guilty plea.
- Beebe Healthcare embezzled of $150,000 by employee. The Lewes Police Department has arrested an employee of Beebe Healthcare and charged her with embezzlement. Hope Abram, a resident of Lewes, is alleged to have embezzled up to $150,000. Concerns were raised when irregularities became apparent during a standard audit. Hope Abram was the revenue cycle director for the group and her position was terminated on the day of her arrest. The police has also executed a search warrant on Hope Abram’s Bay Breeze Drive residence. She has been taken into custody.