Embezzlement and employee theft involve theft from someone in a position of trust. When someone leaves money or valuables in the care of someone else, the employee or trustee may be tempted to take a portion for themselves. Embezzlement may be motivated by necessity, unfair treatment, or temptation. If warning signs of theft are discovered, it can lead to a criminal investigation.
Unfortunately, many people are unjustly accused of embezzlement when there is no evidence of any wrongdoing. Even without evidence, the prosecutor may still decide to bring criminal charges. If you were accused of embezzlement or employee theft, you have the right to a strong defense. Contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer for help.
Embezzlement is a type of theft that occurs when someone who has been entrusted with the money or company property fraudulently takes or misdirects money that belongs to someone else. The embezzler could be an employee, trustee, administrator, accountant, or another person in a position of trust.
Embezzlement is generally considered a “white-collar crime.” White-collar crimes are financially motivated, non-violent offenses. Embezzlement may not be much different than common employee theft. However, when someone talks about embezzlement, it is generally because it involves a lot more money. An employee taking $20 from a small business may be employee theft. Employees taking $200,000 from the business may be embezzlers.
Embezzlement is not limited to employee theft. Embezzlement can involve a trustee taking property from a trust or an insurance agent directing the customer’s premiums into their own bank account. Some examples of embezzlement may include:
Employee theft is one of the most common types of embezzlement. Stealing by workers could also generally be considered embezzlement because the worker is in a position of trust with the business property. This includes a cashier handling customer cash, a retail worker processing clothing for the sales floor, or management processing accounts and payroll.
Any type of taking or misappropriation of employer property may be considered a type of employee theft. Employee theft can occur in any type of job, from minimum wage restaurant workers to corporate officers defrauding the company. Some of the common types of employee theft include:
Embezzlement cases often involve larger amounts of money, while employee theft may only deal with stealing some clothes or office supplies. However, these crimes may be prosecuted under similar state or federal theft laws. The criminal penalties for theft or larceny generally depend on the value of the items or services involved. Theft under a certain amount may be charged as a misdemeanor, with penalties including fines, probation, community service, or jail.
Grand theft of larger amounts of money or goods may be a felony. Depending on the state law, felony theft could result in prison for more than a year, fines, restitution, and a felony criminal record. A felony conviction can make it harder to get a job, find a place to live, get benefits, and could restrict gun ownership.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified embezzlement lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local embezzlement attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.