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How is embezzlement defined?

On Behalf of | Dec 12, 2022 | White Collar Crimes

If you are accused of taking something that does not belong to you, there are two broad categories of charges you could face. Theft or embezzlement.

It is crucial to understand the difference as the sentences you will face if convicted differ considerably between the two.

Embezzlement involves a greater breach of trust

While we should be free to trust everyone not to take our things, that is not how the world is. Theft involves taking something belonging to someone else that you had no right to have in the first place.

Embezzlement differs in that the owner will have given you some control over it. So in effect, they trusted you with the thing, and you allegedly breached their trust.

Examples could include an employee siphoning off company funds they were in charge of. Or a financial advisor diverting some of a client’s money into their own pocket.

It is considered a white-collar crime, and as such carries serious consequences because of the breach of trust involved. Lawmakers want to ensure that people can entrust others in certain positions with their money, so they stipulate harsh sentences for those in positions of authority who breach the trust someone places in them. That could mean anyone from a cashier of a small grocery store who takes a few hundred dollars to a finacial worker who takes millions.

Is borrowing without permission embezzlement?

If your grandmother is seriously ill and you need an extra $10,000 to pay her medical bills, you cannot just take it from the company funds. However sincere your intentions to pay it back, you could still be found guilty of embezzling funds.

Aa with any criminal charge, not everyone accused of embezzlement is guilty. Seek legal help to examine your defense options.