Iowa Embezzlement Charges & Penalties + Statute of Limitations

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In Iowa, someone can be found guilty of embezzlement if they are demonstrated to have stolen money that was entrusted to their care. In many cases, it involves employees who take money from their businesses. Typically, this happens when they have access to the bank or cash accounts. It is a very serious crime that is charged as theft in the state.

Iowa Embezzlement Laws and Penalties

Under Iowa Code § 714.2, how serious the charge and associated sentence is depends entirely on how much money was taken. As such:

  • Embezzlement to a value of over $10,000 is a first degree theft charge, which is a Class C felony. This can lead to up to 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of between $1,000 and $10,000.
  • Embezzlement to a value of between $1,000 and $10,000 is a second degree theft charge, which is a Class D felony. This can lead to up to five years imprisonment and/or a fine of between $750 and $7,500.
  • Embezzlement to a value of between $500 and $1,000 is a third degree theft charge. This is an aggravated misdemeanor.
  • Embezzlement to a value of between $200 and $500 is a fourth degree theft charge. This is a serious misdemeanor.
  • Embezzlement to a value less than $200 is a fifth degree theft charge. This is a simple misdemeanor.

Misdemeanor charges can all result in jail time and/or fines.

Additionally, those convicted of embezzlement will generally have to pay restitution.

Iowa Embezzlement Defenses

If someone has been accused of embezzlement, a number of possible defenses do exist. Sometimes, a lawyer will be able to show that the defendant acted in good faith and believed they were entitled to the money. In other cases, they will demonstrate that the wrong person has been charged with the offense, or that they have been falsely accused of the crime. Overall, the goal of the defense is to find weaknesses and inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case, thereby casting reasonable doubt.

Iowa Embezzlement Statute of Limitations

Under Iowa Code § 802.3 (2016) and Iowa Code § 802.4 (2016), the statute of limitations for an embezzlement charge in Iowa is either one or three years, depending on the severity of the case.

Iowa Embezzlement Cases

  • Man accused of embezzling $40,000 from a local bar has been arrested. Carlos Barrera, a 52 year old former employee of Ickey Nickel in Sioux City is accused of embezzling funds from his employer, where he worked as head chef, by making unauthorized purchases to the valueo f $46,000 from Staber Meats. Allegedly, he left his place of employment to pick up meat in his own vehicle against company policies and he did not take the supplies to the bar. He faces a first degree theft charge, which is a Class C felony.
  • Lawyer from Northeast Iowa charged with $35,000+ embezzlement. Todd M. Kowalke, a 56 year old attorney from Cresco, has been charged with first degree theft for allegedly embezzling over $35,000 from the Violet Brokken estate in 2017. He is said to have used the money for personal and business expenses, as well as for gambling. Court records show that he has apologized for his actions and has promised to repay all the money.
  • Church leader from Iowa sentenced in $2.4 million embezzlement case. Andrew Matheason, a Greattinger church leader, is said to have embezzled over $400,000 from the Bethel Lutheran Church. The 65 year old ex-water conditioner salesperson has not faced criminal charges, but he has been ordered to pay $2.4 million in a Palo Alto civil case. He became treasurer for the Bethel Lutheran Church in Greattinger the same year in which he filed for bankruptcy. He was paid $125 per month for his role but is alleged to have used a variety of schemes to embezzle money for his personal use.
  • Woman returns to prison after being convicted of embezzling from Iowa unemployment funds. Linda F. Pippen, a.k.a. Linda Barnes, a 48 year old woman from Waterloo, pleaded guilt to an embezzlement charge in 2011 for taking $43,000 in unemployment insurance benefits. She has had numerous violations to her parole and has, as a result, been returned to prison. She had been released in 2015 on three years’ supervised release. She also faced a class action lawsuit, but this did not go ahead. It is unclear whether it will once again be brought forward now. The probation officer has stated that Pippen traveled out of state and district and that she has opened new credit card accounts and lines of credits. She denies all charges, but the judge did not believe her.
  • Woman sentenced to probation and restitution for bank embezzlement. Cassandra Marie Lane, a 34 year old woman from Charles City, has been accused of embezzling from the First Security Bank and Trust. She has pleaded guilty to first and second degree theft and has been sentenced to serve five years probation and to repay $17,287.78 in restitution.