For residents of California, the idea of being charged with a serious criminal offense is a worrying one. Conviction could not only lead to prison sentences and hefty fines, but could also cost you your job and even impact where you are allowed to reside. Unfortunately, there are far too many ways to get into trouble, particularly if you work in a position of power. One mistake could result in an investigation into a possible white collar scheme.

In general, white collar crimes are financially motivated endeavors that often work by deceiving an individual or organization out of large amounts of money or property. One form this can take is embezzlement. Classed as a form of larceny or theft in many states, this crime involves the abuse of an individual’s power or position to steal the property or funds in question.

As this article on embezzlement explains, an example might be someone who doctors a business’ accounts to hide the fact that large sums of money are going missing. Another might be the creation of imaginary employees or fabricated invoices to account for money that is actually being illegally transferred into someone’s personal account.

However, if you are in a position of trust and make a mistake involving company accounts, it may look like you were attempting to steal from your employers. Before you know it, you could be faced with a full-blown investigation, making your future very uncertain. If this happens to you, an attorney’s advice could be invaluable. With the right guidance you may be able to preserve your reputation and avoid conviction.