If you were charged with misappropriating funds, it is important to understand how each step of the criminal proceedings works. One vital component of a trial is the calculation of loss in DC federal embezzlement cases. This calculation determines what has been taken, along with what may have been intended to be taken in order to adequately judge a sentence.
Because of the stakes involved with this process, it may be important to contact an attorney about your legal options. A hard-working embezzlement lawyer could help to explain your circumstances and work to build a case that may mitigate the calculation of loss during sentencing.
There are several methods that may be used to determine loss under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which includes the actual loss and the intended loss. Actual loss is the calculated amount of money or other assets that were illegally taken during embezzlement. Intended loss, on the other hand, calculates what someone was trying to take. To calculate this intended loss, other evidence is taken into account and, as a result, the amount is usually greater than the actual loss.
The sentencing guidelines specifically state that if something can be calculated for intended loss, it should be included. However, judges often take into account the arguments made by both the defendant and prosecutor with respect to what the intended loss amount calculation should actually be. When a defense attorney argues against the intended loss calculation, they may question the validity of evidence if it, for example, relies on estimates that are questionable or not direct.
When representing a defendant, a lawyer in an embezzlement case can advocate for the lowest possible loss amount under the given facts of a particular case. For example, they may use an alternative calculation method from the government’s method in order to establish a loss amount calculation that could suit both the prosecutor and the defendant’s needs.
An experienced attorney may also argue that the calculation of the intended loss does not make sense for a variety of reasons, often based on the unique evidence of a case. To discuss the extent and nuances of these options, an attorney may benefit from the counsel of a dedicated lawyer.
The Federal Judges in the District of Columbia use the United States Sentencing Guidelines under Section 2 1.1 in order to determine the loss amount. Essentially, this amount is calculated by studying what was intended to be taken, as well as by looking at the actual amount that was taken, and then using these guidelines to make a determination.
In other words, the United States Sentencing Guidelines calculation of loss is a starting point for the discussion of the specifics of sentencing. Once the loss amount is calculated, the judge is required to take into account other important aspects of the case—such as the nature and circumstance of the offense, which includes a person’s role in the embezzlement, as well as the characteristics of the defendant, which are often important in determining a sentence.
Evidence used when determining actual loss incurred by the defendant’s actions could include bank records, as well as the funds that were taken. Judges do not do the calculations themselves, however, but instead review the calculations done by the parties such as the defense, the government, and sometimes the presentence report writer. A judge will also review the arguments made by counsel when considering the calculations of loss amount presented.
The evidence considered for a calculation of intended loss is different, however. Often, evidence used includes communications through text, emails, or phone, as well as any relevant recordings of conversations or contracts. Essentially, evidence for the intended loss focuses on things other than pure financial calculations.
Sometimes, the court uses hearsay information as a means of determining the loss amount calculation. However, issues with reliability are often present for this method. For example, bank records sometimes contain hearsay statements instead of direct facts—but they are still often relied on by courts when determining the loss amount. When intended loss is being determined, the credibility of hearsay information comes even more into play and might raise the possibility of a challenge based on the uncertain nature of these statements.
Fair market value is also used in determining some aspects of loss. For example, when a determination is required for the value of services that might have been illegally obtained, one method would be to simply use the price that was paid for the services. However, another method is to instead use the fair market value of these services; in other words, the amount someone would pay on the open market for those services. Because a determination cannot always be made in dollars and cents, fair market value may play a large role in a calculation, depending on the type of loss.
If you were charged with embezzlement and are facing sentencing, it may be essential to reach out to a lawyer to discuss the calculation of loss amount during a DC federal embezzlement case. Because the results of a calculation have an impact on your future livelihood, it might prove helpful to have a well-versed attorney on your side.
Having legal counsel with you throughout this stage of the process may help to get the best possible outcome under the circumstances. To discuss your legal options, call a legal professional today.
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