Fahmi Elshami, a Roswell man, was arrested after being accused of stealing upwards of $30,000 from a youth soccer nonprofit group in Fulton County.
Elshami was the former executive director of the Georgia Rush soccer program. According to reports, the nonprofit program made the decision to relieve Elshami of his position in May and before his authorization to handle the nonprofit's finances was removed, he went to two different Roswell banks and withdrew large amounts of money from their accounts.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, I've written many posts about Property Crimes in Georgia. These crimes include all types of theft offenses. According to the jail reports, Elshami has been charged with felony theft by taking in Georgia, which is the most common type of theft in Georgia. Theft by taking is also known as larceny in other states. This type of theft just refers to the taking of anything of value with the intent of depriving the owner.
In today's post I will outline and explain the law behind theft by taking in Georgia and show some of the Georgia Criminal Defenses that can be used in the case of a wrongful accusation.
Georgia Law on Theft by Taking
The Georgia Code defines theft by taking as:
When a person unlawfully takes or, being in lawful possession thereof, unlawfully appropriates any property of another with the intention of depriving him of the property, regardless of the manner in which property is taken or appropriated. O.C.G.A. §16-8-2.
Now to explain the meaning behind this law.
The term “depriving” is actually interpreted in two ways by Georgia Courts.
- To withhold another's property temporarily or permanently
- To dispose of the property so as to make it unlikely that the owner will recover it
The term “property of another” is interpreted as any property that belongs to someone else. This does not include property jointly belonging to the accused person and someone else. You cannot be guilty of theft if you have some sort of ownership in the property you've been accused of stealing.
To be found guilty and convicted of theft by taking, the prosecution must prove that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Theft by taking can either be classified as a misdemeanor or felony in Georgia. When the theft involves property valued at $500 or less, then the crime will be deemed a misdemeanor in Georgia. The consequences of a misdemeanor include a fine of no more than $1,000 and a jail sentence of no more than 12 months.
If the theft involves property worth more than $500, the crime will more than likely be deemed a felony. The judge can use discretion when determining whether to regard the offense as a misdemeanor or a felony. If you receive a felony charge, then theft brings a penalty of a prison sentence of no less than one year and no more than ten years.
Defenses to Theft by Taking in Georgia
Now for the criminal defenses to an accusation of theft by taking. Below, I have listed some of the defenses that can be utilized in a theft by taking case:
- Act of Repossession
- Mere Attempt to Steal (you can still be charged with the criminal offense of Attempt in Georgia)
- Lack of Intent
- Involuntary Intoxication in Georgia
I mentioned these are only a few of the defenses. There are actually a plethora of other arguments that can be used for theft. Therefore, if you or a loved one has been accused of a crime in Georgia, contact one of our Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys today. We will tailor a strong defense based on the details and evidence of your specific case.