While embezzlement is often a crime associated with the private sector—especially among private sector industries that deal specifically in money (banking, finance, investment, etc.)—it can sometimes occur in the public sector as well. When embezzlement occurs in North Carolina’s public sector, state laws accord a different set of punishments to individuals convicted of the crime.
Just as those convicted of embezzlement in North Carolina face penalties that differ according to the severity of the crime, and in consideration of any mitigating or aggravating factors, public sector embezzlers are also subject to penalties that increase as the value of the money or property they embezzled increases.
In addition, North Carolina embezzlement law provides a distinction between public employees and public officials. This distinction also affects the penalties faced by either group.
In both groups, for an individual charged with embezzlement of properties or monies worth $100,000 or more, the penalties include between 59 and 73 months in prison. On the other hand, when the severity of the embezzlement is less than $100,000, public employees face between 20 and 25 months in prison, while public officials face the same sentence as a private sector embezzler of between five and six months.
Due to the fact that embezzlement penalties can vary drastically due to any number of relevant factors, it is always best for those facing this particular case to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney who can assess the gravity of the possible sentences.