Defining “entrapment”

On Behalf of | Jul 15, 2019 | Embezzlement, Firm News

Defenses to accusations or embezzlement may seem few and far between; indeed, many come to us here at Sapone & Petrillo, LLP having been accused of this crime convinced that their guilt is assumed. Yet even in cases where a prosecutor claims to have evidence of you using your company’s funds to finance your own separate endeavors does not necessarily mean that you have embezzled that money. Rather, in cases where government entities were involved in a case, the possibility of entrapment is ever present. 

Entrapment occurs when a government agency compels or prompts you to commit a crime. Typically, such a case begins with a suspicion that you may present the potential to embezzle funds (either through interpretations of your past actions or your position within your company). Representatives of said agency then typically contact you with the opportunity to get involved in an embezzlement scheme. If your cooperation is perceived in any way, then you may be charged with embezzlement. 

Per the U.S. Department of Justice, two elements must be present in order to prove entrapment. The first is government inducement. To prove inducement, you need to show that the government engaged in actions that can be readily interpreted as persuasion or even coercion to a point that your willingness to obey the law was overcome. 

The second element is a lack of predisposition on your part to commit a crime. The government’s argument in such cases is that you would have committed the crime regardless of their involvement. If you can show that you only acted in response to their prompting, then that makes a strong argument against you having any criminal predispositions. 

More information on defending yourself from embezzlement charges can be found throughout our site.