An audit of government accounts could reveal not only waste but a combination of fraud and abuse. Unfortunately, people in government use their positions to enrich themselves. Embezzlement might provide a Missouri official with a short-term path to wealth, but the journey could lead to a lengthy prison sentence.
Embezzlement and fraud in government
Government officials accused of fraud often become lead stories in the news. The public feels shocked upon discovering how their tax dollars went to someone’s private coffers. The amount embezzled could be even more shocking, as many stories reveal accounts of officials misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Some may wonder how so much money could disappear. In many cases, it wasn’t a large amount of money appropriated at one time. Instead, the fines were redirected over several years. The final sum could add up to well over half a million dollars.
The fraudulent behavior may involve misappropriating campaign funds. A politician who takes money from political donors and uses it for personal expenses could get into legal trouble.
Bribery could bring serious charges against an accused official as well. Government officials might accept cash and gifts for favors, and they could do this for some time before law enforcement realizes what’s happening. A subsequent arrest and indictment may leave the official looking at many years in prison.
Dealing with the charges
Although an official might face charges of embezzlement, bribery, or another white-collar crime, the official might not be guilty. False accusations could ruin a reputation, even when the case lacks sufficient evidence.
Local and federal police could also violate a suspect’s rights by illegally procuring evidence. Such evidence might not be admissible in court.
And then there are situations where investigations derive from mistakes. Negligent behavior might not rise to the level of criminal charges, but the accused could face an indictment. Regardless, the accused maintains a right to a defense and is innocent until proven guilty.