A 58-year-old Whitehall man was arraigned on Oct. 9 in front of an Oceana County 78th District Court magistrate on charges that he embezzled money from his employer. The embezzlement charge in this case carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence. It is important for those facing such charges to have a full understanding of their legal rights, so they can make the best decisions for their individual situations.

The man is accused of stealing more than $33,000 from his employer, the Grant Township-based Double JJ Resort. He faces a charge of embezzlement by agent or trustee of at least $20,000 but less than $50,000. At the arraignment, the court set the man's bond at $25,000.

On Aug. 28, the Oceana County Sheriff's Office began an investigation after a certified public accountant uncovered discrepancies in the resort's financial accounts. Police report that the man has confessed to the crime and has returned $4,100 of the embezzled money that still remained in his possession.

When we think of embezzlement, we usually think of the multimillion dollar scams we often hear about in the news. Many instances of white-collar crimes are nowhere near as damaging as those, but as this case shows, even relatively minor white-collar crimes can carry harsh prison sentences. Everyone charged with embezzlement or other white-collar crimes should be aware of the possible penalties of a conviction and work towards a solid defense.

Source: Mlive.com, "Double JJ Resort employee arraigned on felony embezzlement charge, could face 10 years in prison," John S. Hausman, Oct. 9, 2012