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Impact of Theft Charges on An Individual’s Life in Virginia

Interviewer: If I were to get a theft charge on my record what would that prevent me from doing?

Brian Geno: A criminal conviction can show up when you apply for a job. That is a very common one. Many, many employers these days are doing criminal background checks for all jobs applicants. Whether that person is going to be selling pet food all the way up to working in a professional position. It also happens a lot when a person is trying to get a job where they have to handle money. The employers want to check and see if their prospective employees is honest. Criminal background checks get done then.

Universities Ask If A Person Has Been Convicted of A Crime Prior to Granting Admission

Universities ask a question many times on their applications if a person has been convicted of a crime. Certainly, applying for a position in the military or trying to get into the police academy or the fire department. It can stop a person from their profession, from their work. It can stop them from working in volunteer ways. I know, for example, my church has a questionnaire of its volunteers to check their integrity. One of the questions is, “Have you been convicted of something.” A theft charge could really put a stop to that.

A Criminal Conviction in Virginia Stays On Your Record Forever

Yes, it matters a lot. A criminal conviction in Virginia stays on your record forever. It doesn’t ever go away. I had a person charged with a crime the other day who’s had a conviction, a prior conviction from the seventies. It popped up. I have had clients before who’ve had charges that were eleven, twelve years old that popped up and they do matter. Both of those examples, the courts sentenced more harshly, when they got a chance, based upon those old convictions. I don’t know that it would … That’s all I have to say about that.

Writing A Hot Check For Over $200 Results In A Felony Charge

Interviewer: Could be, someone might face theft charges if they wrote a hot check?

Brian Geno: Yes, that is a felony in most cases. It would be a felony if it is over $200. It’s considered just like any other theft charge. The size makes a difference. If I write a check to anybody and then they call me up and say it didn’t clear, I have to cover it right away. If I don’t that person can, all they have to do is call the police. They have to send that person a letter saying, “Your check didn’t clear.” If the person doesn’t make it good, pretty quickly they can be facing theft charges. It is a serious way for a regular person to get his check covered, but for the person who does it it’s definitely a serious matter. It applies to anyone but I think that it is very commonly used against people who are not American citizens. You may be a person who is a resident or maybe a visiting alien; if you write a bad check and don’t cover it, that is considered a crime involving moral turpitude. It has not only the criminal penalties, but it also has the added penalty of preventing you from any further benefits through living in the United States, the Immigration Service. That’s one that I tell clients who are not American citizens to be very careful about.

Embezzlement is One of The Common Form of White Collar Crime Prevalent in Virginia

Interviewer: As far as white collar theft goes, something like embezzlement, are you seeing any of that as well?

Brian Geno: Yes. Embezzlement can happen from the most mundane job. A person is working at a retail establishment and steals shoes and shirts and things like that all the way up to the person who is the teller who is taking money out of the till, keeping it. I started a case not long ago where a person was a manager of a restaurant. He had a fairly elaborate way, he thought, of stealing from his company. Got caught. I guess it wasn’t too elaborate. It happens form the most lowly type scenario all the way up to a fairly high levels of trust. When a person does it the sentencing guide lines take into account the added, I’ll call it the added evil element, I am not quite sure what other word to use right now, of committing a theft and doing it while in the process of carrying out a job of trust. Because you had to trick someone to do that the sentencing guide lines make it worse. Quite a bit worse, actually.