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Offense Level Enhancements in DC Embezzlement Cases

Offense level enhancements in DC embezzlement cases can increase the potential sentences. If you face embezzlement charges or were found guilty, you should let a skilled attorney help with your defense.

A defense lawyer provides as much mitigating evidence as possible to the court during the sentencing phase of the case to work to achieve the lowest possible penalty. No matter what the advisory guideline range is, the more mitigating evidence and information the attorney provides to the judge, the better the chance of getting a sentence below the advisory guideline range.  

What is an Offense Level Enhancement?

When a person pled guilty or was found guilty at trial, a sentencing guidelines analysis is done by the probation officer preparing a presentence report. Both the defense and the government have a chance to weigh in on the presentence report. It is supposed to be an impartial analysis of the facts of the case along with an analysis of the sentencing guidelines. As part of the analysis, the probation officer analyzes the facts of the case and makes a determination about any enhancements or movement upward of the offense level. In an embezzlement case, that is based primarily on the loss amount.

Factors in Offense Level Enhancement Decisions

The primary driving force of an offense level enhancement is the loss amount, which is calculated in the sentencing guidelines under Section 2B 1.1. An embezzlement case uses either the intended loss, which is the amount intended to be illegally taken, or the actual loss. The intended loss is usually greater than the actual loss. The guidelines specifically state that when the intended loss can be calculated, it should be used. There is generally room for an argument on the defense side that the judge should take into account the actual loss, even if the intended loss is used to enhance an offense level. Other factors that may increase an offense level are:

  • The use of sophisticated means in the commission of the offense
  • The number of victims
  • Whether or not a substantial portion of the offense was committed overseas
  • The role a person played in the offense

Does Embezzlement Carry Mandatory Minimum Sentences?

Embezzlement cases do not typically carry mandatory minimum sentences unless there is a conviction for aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison. The offense level enhancements directly affect the advisory guideline range. When there are enhancements in the offense level, the corresponding advisory guideline range is also higher. A judge is not required to follow the advisory guideline range. However, many judges are guided substantially by the advisory guideline range.

Lowering the Offense Level

When a case is resolved by a guilty plea, there may be ways to minimize the offense level by getting an agreement with the government regarding the loss amount. That is one of the primary means of lowering an offense level. If the defense attorney gets an agreement that the loss amount is zero or close to it, that keeps the offense level in embezzlement cases extremely low, which keeps the advisory guideline range low.

Consult With an Embezzlement Sentencing Lawyer

Embezzlement cases are extremely complicated. When someone faces sentencing in an embezzlement case in federal court, they should have an experienced embezzlement sentencing lawyer who has knowledge of the judges and prosecutors in these types of cases. An experienced lawyer crafts sentencing arguments that specifically address the issues a particular judge emphasizes when sentencing.

It is important to have a lawyer who works hard because the success in these cases is directly related to the amount of time and effort a lawyer puts into the case. The lawyer should stay current on the case law and other aspects such as technology that may affect these cases.

If you face embezzlement charges or sentencing, do not hesitate to contact a dedicated defense lawyer. An attorney with experience handling offense level enhancements in DC embezzlement cases could fight for a positive resolution to your case.


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