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Federal Criminal Defense Attorney
John D. Kirby in San Diego, CA

White collar crimes can be difficult to understand, but a criminal defense attorney at the Law Offices of John D. Kirby can represent you. Two crimes that involve money, embezzlement and money laundering, can sometimes be hard to distinguish from the other. Our legal team can help you understand your charges and build a strong defense for your case.

What is embezzlement?

When a person embezzles money, he or she has been given money legally. However, they use the money for something other than its intended purpose. They may divert these funds into a personal account or use them for personal gain.

What is money laundering?

Money laundering involves funds that are obtained illegally. During laundering, funds obtained from criminal activity are transformed. This means they can be used without linking the owner to the criminal activity. Once this money is laundered, it cannot be repossessed by law enforcement and stays in the possession of the owner. The money is first placed in a financial institution or a business. In some cases, the money is wired to other accounts to fade the trail to where it originated.   


Someone facing money laundering charges in California will be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony. This will depend on their case and their criminal history. If you’re facing a misdemeanor, you can spend up to a year in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. A felony can lead to sixteen months, two years or three years in jail and twice the money laundered as a fine or $250,000, whichever is greater.

For embezzlement charges, you will be either charged with a petty theft or grand theft offense, depending on the amount embezzled and/or the value of the property. If it is $950 or less it is a misdemeanor with a maximum of six months in jail and court fees. For more than $950, the offense is a wobbler, which means that it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony with up to three years in prison. If the amount exceeds $65,000, an additional year is added to a prison sentence. If the amount is over $3.2 million, four years can be added to a sentence.

Call to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you or a loved one are facing money laundering or embezzlement charges in California, call to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense lawyer. Visit our web page or give us a call at 619-557-0100 and speak with our friendly staff at the Law Offices of John D. Kirby. We look forward to hearing from you.