Loss and Sentencing in Virginia Embezzlement Cases

Loss is an important consideration when determining sentencing guidelines in Virginia embezzlement cases. Sentencing guidelines start with Section A of the Virginia sentencing guidelines under the larceny section. The charges associated with an embezzlement charge can be extremely serious if a lot of money has been taken. It is important to contact a Virginia embezzlement lawyer right away if under investigation.

Determining the Sentence

A Virginia embezzlement lawyer looks at the primary offense, prior convictions by the accused, and most importantly, the loss amount. The loss amount can automatically put a person in the position of facing a prison sentence. An experienced lawyer’s goal when compiling Section A for their client is to come up with a number that is 15 or less.

However, when the loss amount is $120,000 or more, the person automatically has at least 16 points. The base offense under Section A is two points and the loss amount of $120,000 or more is 14 points, for a total of 16 points. In Section C, the scale for the loss amount is significantly affected when the amount is less than $28,000 and the person receives no adjustment in the guideline recommendations.

If the loss amount is between $28,000 and $90,000, the person has two years added to the sentencing recommendation automatically. When the loss amount is $90,000 or more, two and a half years is automatically added to their guideline recommendation. Having a Virginia embezzlement lawyer look at the loss amount to make sure the government can prove the amount is critical to establishing a fair and just sentencing guideline recommendation on a person’s case.

Mandatory Minimum

There is no mandatory minimum sentencing in an embezzlement case. The statutory range for embezzlement cases is one to 20 years, but the one year is not a mandatory minimum. Under Virginia law, a mandatory minimum sentence is a specific term that says a person must serve that whole sentence in its entirety when convicted of a crime. That differs from statutory range, statutory range means the person can be given one year, but the judge can suspend some or all of that time. When a mandatory minimum sentence is in play, the judge lacks the authority to suspend any portion of that sentence. There are no mandatory minimum sentences in embezzlement cases under Virginia law.

Actual Loss vs. Intended Loss

The actual loss is the amount of money taken from the employer. Intended loss is a term that generally refers to the amount that might have been or would have been taken if the theft was successful. The actual loss is the only matter considered by the Virginia sentencing guidelines. However, when there is a higher loss that someone attempted to obtain but was foiled in those efforts, the court might take that into consideration that when determining whether to go above or below the guidelines. The actual loss is the only thing taken into account by the Virginia sentencing guidelines.


A Virgina embezzlement lawyer needs to subpoena the documents of the entity that claims to have suffered the loss to verify their claims or determine that they are not valid because the loss amount is significantly less. To disprove the amount claimed by the entity, the lawyer examines bank records, internal records, and does a thorough investigation to uncover the true nature of the loss.

Contact an Attorney

An embezzlement conviction adversely affects a person for the rest of their life. A conviction for embezzlement means that a person employed in a position of trust stole from an individual or entity in violation of that placement of trust. That makes it difficult for a person to obtain any future employment handling money. Contacting an experienced lawyer who is familiar with embezzlement cases is critical because there can be a lot of nuances. There are things that are difficult for the government to prove and a person needs a lawyer who can fight to prevent the government from proving their case.