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"Internal" Theft

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An "internal" theft is a theft crime where an employee of an individual or a company steals money or property from that individual or company.

An internal theft can be a petit theft or grand theft, depending on the amount allegedly stolen.

Most first-time offenders charged with petit theft or third-degree grand theft will be eligible for Pretrial Intervention (PTI) if the offender has no priors. This is because most thefts are retail thefts, or shoplifting incidents.

However, under Florida law, an alleged victim must approve a defendant's participation in a deferred prosecution program. In my experience, most cases of internal theft involve more personal feelings than your standard retail theft case, so PTI is not always available. This means that internal theft cases are more often litigated and tried than retail theft cases.

Examples of internal theft would be a cashier stealing money from the company's cash register, or an employee of a bank embezzling money from customers' accounts.

If there is an organized pattern of theft, the state could add charges of organized scheme to defraud.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward.