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Coralville business manager accused of embezzlement from clients

Accusations of theft in the workplace can have serious consequences. A man from Coralville, Iowa, who worked as the general manager of a business, is facing the possibility of 10 years in prison after being charged with stealing over $20,000 from clients. The man has been charged with a single count of first-degree theft, which is a Class C felony in Iowa.

Police claim that the 50-year-old man stole the funds by fraudulently depositing client checks into his personal account at a local credit union. The man had previously worked at the credit union as a vice president of sales, but was not employed there when the alleged thefts occurred. The criminal complaint does not identify the business where the man was employed at the time of the thefts.

The theft of funds by a person entrusted to handle them is referred to as "embezzlement." Iowa does not have a specific embezzlement statute; stealing from one's clients or employer is charged under the general theft statute. The severity level of a felony theft charge depends on the amount of money or property at issue.

When Iowa residents are accused of felony theft they have a number of potential defenses. In some cases, embezzlement may have actually occurred, but police arrested the wrong person. Sometimes defendants can argue that they had a good faith basis to believe they were entitled to use the funds, and that there was no criminal intent. In any theft case the prosecution has the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Source: The Gazette, "Police: Coralville man stole more than $20,000," Lee Hermiston, Dec. 12, 2016

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