Embezzlement is a serious crime that could have short and long-term consequences for your California company. This may be true regardless of how much money was stolen, who stole it or what the money was ultimately used for. Let’s take a look at what might happen if corporate or client money is used improperly.

The company may need to close

Many small businesses operate on relatively thin profit margins, and this means that losing even a small amount of money may make it impossible to pay employees or keep up with other expenses. Furthermore, it can be expensive to defend against lawsuits or pay fines levied by state agencies or other regulatory bodies.

In the event that your business survives an embezzlement scandal, you may doubt your judgment or lose the trust of your customers or clients. Of course, discovering a scheme to steal money from your business can also provide you with an opportunity to put systems in place to prevent it from happening again.

Lawsuits take time to resolve

Spending months or years in court resolving client or creditor claims can do significant damage to your brand. It can also make it harder to focus on building and growing your business into something that you can sell or hand down to your kids or the next generation in the future. You may face legal action even if the money was put in a savings account where it did nothing but accrue interest.

If you are accused of white-collar crime, you may face many years in jail or owe thousands of dollars or more in restitution. A criminal defense attorney may cast doubt upon the evidence against you in an effort to get a charge dropped or gain leverage for a plea deal.