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What's embezzlement?

If you're accused of stealing money or assets from a company, you could be in serious trouble and face federal charges. It's important to defend yourself immediately, so you don't go do something that can lead to an unfair conviction.

Embezzlement is a crime defined as both the theft and larceny of assets. Assets can be either money or property. Usually, embezzlement only takes place in a corporate or employment setting. It's common for embezzlement to take the form of accounting embezzlement, in which a person manipulates records to hide the theft of funds. For instance, a person may write down that only $500 was earned for the day when $600 actually came through on purchases.

A common example of embezzlement would be a bank teller or clerk who was given lawful possession of money but then fails to deposit it or takes a higher percentage of the funds than legally allowed. Stealing company property can be a kind of embezzlement as well. For instance, if you're given a company computer and take it home, keeping it even after you leave the company, that could be embezzlement.

Embezzlement charges can only be supported if you have a fiduciary relationship with another party that you both agree to. For example, you take care of an elderly person's accounting and finances per an arranged agreement. You must have received the property through that relationship and must have taken ownership of that property or given it to someone else. You must intentionally do this to be accused of and convicted of embezzlement.

Source: FindLaw, "Embezzlement," accessed May 05, 2016

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