In Kansas, embezzlement happens when someone is entrusted with the property of someone else and mismanages this to gain from it personally. In many cases, it is prosecuted at federal level and this means incredibly tough penalties. However, even at state level, it is important to find proper representation as the crime is an incredibly serious one.
Kansas Embezzlement Laws and Penalties
Under KS Stat § 21-5801 (2014) , the penalties associated with embezzlement are the same as those for theft, which means they vary depending on the amount or value of the property that was taken. As such:
- Embezzlement to a value of $100,000 or more is a severity level 5, nonperson felony.
- Embezzlement to a value of between $25,000 and $100,000 is a severity level 7, nonperson felony.
- Embezzlement to a value of between $1,000 and $25,000 is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
- Embezzlement to a value of less than $1,000 is a class A nonperson misdemeanor.
- If three separate embezzlements to a value of less than $1,000 are committed within 72 hours, it is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
- Embezzlement to a value of less than $1,000 by someone who has already had two or more previous convictions for theft is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
- Embezzlement of a firearm valued at less than $25,000 is a severity level 9, nonperson felony.
The sentencing range in Kansas varies as they use what is known as a “grid system”. This means the severity of the crime, the circumstances surrounding the crime, the criminal history of the offender, and the nature of the victim all play a part in determining sentence. However, for the lowest level sentence, a class A nonperson misdemeanor, defendants can expect to face between 11 and 34 months incarceration as well as probation, fines, and/or restitution.
Kansas Embezzlement Defenses
Because of the severity of the crime of embezzlement, it is vital that an experienced criminal defense attorney investigates the case. They will start by listening to the defendant’s side of the story while also gaining an understanding of the exact charges. This will enable them to analyze the case and determine the strengths and weaknesses in the prosecution’s plan of action. In many cases, they will try to cast reasonable doubt on intent or state that the defendant committed the crime under duress.
Kansas Embezzlement Statute of Limitations
Under Kan. Stat. § 60-513(a)(3) (2016), the statute of limitations for an embezzlement case is two years. However, this statute can be tolled in circumstances such as the defendant being out of state or otherwise unable to stand trial.
Kansas Embezzlement Cases
- Pawn shop in Kansas claims accounting firm embezzled $1.5 million. A-OK, the largest pawn broker in Wichita, claims that their local accounting firm and insurers have failed in their duty to protect the business from employee embezzlement and that this was directly responsible for them having to file for bankruptcy. It is alleged that an A-OK staff accountant embezzled $1.5 million from the company and that Jeff Lucke, from Lucke and Associates, failed to detect this embezzlement and took deliberate actions against the best interests of the company. Meanwhile, a similar suit has been started against the company’s insurers who refused to pay out on a connected claim. The company is seeking $75,000 in damages.
- Wichita woman fails to appear, ordered to pay $11 million. Nancy Martin has been accused of embezzling from two medical businesses over the course of years. She was due to attend court to protest the restitution but failed to appear. As a result, Over $11 million was awarded to Mid-Kansas Wound Specialist and Emergency Services. It is unclear why Martin did not appear for the case. Due to non-attendance, the money she is accused of embezzling, $6.2 million, was immediately awarded, as were lost profits and punitive damages.
- Business owner sentenced to prison for 401(k) embezzlement. Brenda Wood, a business owner in Kansas, has been sentenced to 50 months imprisonment and five years supervised release as well as $4.3 million in restitution for violating the ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) by embezzling approximately $31,403 in deferred employee contributions. She pleaded guilty to bank fraud and theft. Because of the impact of her fraudulent transactions on both companies and individuals, the judge looked very unfavorably on her case.
- Ex-employee from Jasper Schools sentenced in embezzlement case. Karla Justice, a 55 year old woman from Columbus, has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for credit card and wire fraud between September 2013 and September 2016. Karla Justice, a.k.a. Karla Jessee, worked in multiple secretary roles for the Jasper R-5 School District between 2009 and 2016. This gave her unrestricted access to the payroll and accounting system as well as having signatory authority over the petty cash checkbook. She pleaded guilty to embezzling $145,000. The embezzlement was uncovered when the district experienced financial difficulties, which brought various payroll irregularities, credit card payments, and missing money to light. Karla Justice immediately tendered her resignation when asked to reconcile the irregularities. She will have to pay $145,726.81 in restitution.
- Kansas company embezzled out of $145,000. Richard Yust, a 65 year old man from Hutchinson, has pleaded guilty to a $145,000 embezzlement charge from his former employer. He worked as F&H Insulation Sales and Service, Inc.’s controller in Kechi, Kansas. He could face up to 20 years imprisonment as well as a $250,000 fine.