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Doctor accused of stealing funds meant for cancer research

A former physician at San Jose's Valley Medical Center is accused of embezzling nearly $50,000 from a federal grant awarded for cancer research. According to a MercuryNews.com report, the physician (who is no longer associated with the medical facility), allegedly deposited $46,000 in reimbursement checks from the American College of Radiology into his personal account.

Prosecutors believe that the deposits date back nearly a year, and continued after the doctor left Valley Medical. They also believe that most of the money was spent paying credit card balances and mortgage payments. He is charged with felony misappropriation of public funds.

As a matter of law, embezzlement is the taking (or misappropriation) of funds placed in one's trust, but are still legally owned by someone else. Essentially, if a person is entrusted with the care or safekeeping of funds before they are properly earned or allocated to others, and they are fraudulently spent on personal items, the person could be charged with a crime. 

The principal element in embezzlement cases is whether the property was fraudulently converted before it was used for the person's personal use. The news report did not provide details regarding whether the physician was supposed to be paid a salary or a portion of the funds for his work on the project, or whether he was authorized to do so.  Nevertheless, this information may be useful in his defense. 

If you are charged with embezzlement, or any similar white collar crime, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help. 

Source: MercuryNews.com, San Jose: Doctor accused of pocketing money meant for cancer research, September 4, 2013

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