by Brad Koffel
Grand theft is found in Ohio Revised Code 2913.02. If it is business-related,
we refer to it as
embezzlement. Employees stealing from employers is very common.
When I am contacted by a prospective embezzlement client, I prefer to
meet the new client, immediately, in my office. I start all of my embezzlement
cases at the end and work backwards. By this I mean, I start with a pre-sentence
investigation (PSI) that every judge will have done to see if a client
is a candidate for a non-prison term. Every single client, without exception,
is chiefly concerned about going to prison.Starting with the PSI allows
me to gauge my client’s strengths and weaknesses as measured by the
Ohio sentencing principles and guidelines found in R.C. 2929.11 and R.C. 2929.12.
Step two is a financial audit of our client’s personal and business
life. We need to know, in short order, if our client can make full restitution
(if, in fact, the client is guilty of the crime). Restitution goes a very
long way towards a favorable resolution.
Step three is to try and work out a settlement pre-indictment so the client
doesn’t get arrested and held for a bond hearing (if the client is
still under investigation). Most prosecutor’s and detectives in theft
cases will follow the wishes of the alleged victim. The sooner the alleged
victim can be satisfied, the easier it is to work with a prosecutor and
The final steps are to give a judge reasons why he or she should impose
a non-prison term. There is little doubt that most judges despise crimes of
fraud, dishonesty, and theft. Finding the reason a client did what they did
(other than greed) is helpful.
There are many cases where we need to employ a forensic CPA to dig into
the detectives file for issues of doubt and/or actual innocence. Many
detectives are not trained to conduct forensic audits and make false assumptions.
Identifying these is of paramount importance.
Most of our theft clients have been sentenced to non-prison terms. In
fact, most of our clients have never gone to jail.
by Brad Koffel