Employee Theft Attorney

Employee Theft Defense

Employers and lost prevention officers will do almost anything to get to you to admit to wrongdoing.  Your side of the story can best be told through an experienced employee theft lawyer who can help you document what occurred, explain the circumstances, show mitigating factors, and potentially negotiate a compromise to avoid criminal prosecution. Our goals are to:

  1. Review the facts of your case;
  2. Collect all video, accounting and inventory related information;
  3. Identify all possible defenses & mitigating factors, and
  4. Explore all options that would result the reduction or dismissal of all theft charges.

Definition of Employee Theft

Employee theft occurs where: (1) the employee knowingly and unlawfully takes or attempts to take the property of an employer; and (2) the employee does so with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the employer of his or her rights to the property.

Pretrial Diversion for Employee Theft Cases

Pretrial diversion (PTD) is a deferred prosecution program offered by the State Attorney’s Office on a case by case basis. Each prosecuting jurisdiction has it’s own policy regarding pretrial diverion (PTD) or pretrial intervention (PTI) for employee theft cases. Orange County and Osceala County (9th judicial circuit) will not approve an employee theft case for pre-trial diversion. However PTI is a viable option for employee theft cases in the 18th judicial circuit which covers Seminole County and Brevard County.

Employee Theft Defenses

There are several defenses to employee theft. The most common defenses for these types of cases include the following:

  • The lawful purpose defense;
  • Lack of Intent;
  • Consent; or
  • Lack of Evidence; or
  • Incorrect of amount of loss alleged.

The evidence the State of Florida has against an employee accused of theft can be insufficient for many reasons. Where there is no admission, written statement, video evidence or independent corroborating evidence it can often be difficult to attribute a loss of cash or merchandise to any particular individual, or to even prove that the loss occurred as a result of a theft, and not because of lack of inventory control, accounting irregularities, poor record-keeping or other employee misconduct.

Call Bryce Fetter Today

We offer a free consultation so that we can learn about you, learn about your case and determine how we can help.

Employee Theft Defense, Orange & Seminole County, Florida

False or exaggerated accusations by employers are possible and the consequences of such an accusation can be devastating to the employee. Employers and lost prevention officers will do almost anything to get to you to admit to wrongdoing. Any oral or written statement you make to your employer, co-worker, loss prevention officer, district manager or or law enforcement officer can be used against you in court as evidence wrongdoing and an admission of guilt. Your side of the story can best be told through an experienced employee theft lawyer who can help you document what occurred, explain the circumstances, show mitigating factors, and potentially negotiate a compromise to avoid criminal prosecution. Our goals are to:

  1. Review the facts of your case;
  2. Collect all video, accounting and inventory related information;
  3. Identify all possible defenses & mitigating factors, and
  4. Explore all options that would result the reduction or dismissal of all theft charges.

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Definition of Employee Theft

Employee theft occurs where: (1) the employee knowingly and unlawfully takes or attempts to take the property of an employer; and (2) the employee does so with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the employer of his or her rights to the property.

Employee theft crimes are most commonly classified as either grand theft, petit theft, or “scheming to defraud” depending on the value of the property and the conduct or manner in which the property was taken. Any theft charge in the context of an employer-employee relationship is taken seriously and prosecuted aggressively.

Theft at a Public Lodging or Public Food Service Establishment

Florida Statute 509.162(4) provides for a specific penalties for employee theft at a public lodging establishment or a public food service establishment.
(4)Theft of any property belonging to a guest of an establishment licensed under this chapter, or of property belonging to such establishment, by an employee of the establishment or by an employee of a person, firm, or entity which has contracted to provide services to the establishment constitutes a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. This subsection most commonly applies to hotel employees, maids or handymen or cashiers at such an establishment.

All employee thefts under this section are prosecuted as a felony regardless of the value of the items in question.

Employee Theft Penalties

Throughout Florida, the penalties sought by prosecutors for employee theft crimes are generally harsher than conventional theft offenses. It is not uncommon for prosecutors to seek significant jail or prison time for even first-time offenders. The offer made in the case will depend on the individual prosecutor, the strength of the state’s case, the amount alleged to have been taken, the penalties desired by the employer-victim, the prior record of the accused, the judge presiding over the case, and any aggravating or mitigating factors involved. An attorney is critical in these matters to present defenses or mitigation for the accused prior to a filing decision and prior to an offer being made. Early involvement by a defense attorney can often mean the difference between a prison and a non-prison disposition.

The range of penalties available in an employee theft case will depend on the value of the property taken. Where the amount taken is $300 or more, but under $20,000, the offense will be classified as a third degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison or 5 years of probation and a $5,000 fine. Where the amount is $20,000 or more, but less than $100,000, the offense is a second degree felony, with penalties up to 15 years in prison or 15 years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. Where the amount equals or exceeds $100,000, the employee theft constitutes a first degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison or 30 years of probation, and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Pretrial Diversion for Employee Theft Cases

Pretrial diversion (PTD) is a deferred prosecution program offered by the State Attorney’s Office on a case by case basis. Each prosecuting jurisdiction has it’s own policy regarding pretrial diverion (PTD) or pretrial intervention (PTI) for employee theft cases. Orange County and Osceala County (9th judicial circuit) will not approve an employee theft case for pre-trial diversion. However PTI is a viable option for employee theft cases in the 18th judicial circuit which covers Seminole County and Brevard County.

Employee Theft Defenses

There are several defenses to employee theft. The most common defenses for these types of cases include the following:

  • The lawful purpose defense;
  • Lack of Intent;
  • Consent; or
  • Lack of Evidence; or
  • Incorrect of amount of loss alleged.

The evidence the State of Florida has against an employee accused of theft can be insufficient for many reasons. Where there is no admission, written statement, video evidence or independent corroborating evidence it can often be difficult to attribute a loss of cash or merchandise to any particular individual, or to even prove that the loss occurred as a result of a theft, and not because of lack of inventory control, accounting irregularities, poor record-keeping or other employee misconduct.

Orange County Employee Theft Lawyer

Bryce Fetter represents clients for all employee theft charges in the greater Orlando area including all of Orange County and Seminole County.  It is important you retain an attorney at the early stages of your case. Even where no viable defenses exist to contest the charge, it is often possible to enroll the accused into a pretrial intervention program so as to avoid a conviction or plea. Charges may also be reduced, or negotiated to avoid a permanent criminal record or prison.  Call 407-740-7275 for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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