What is embezzlement?
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Embezzlement charges can be serious charges for an accused individual to face which is why anyone charged with embezzlement may rightly wonder what the charge entails. By definition, embezzlement refers to the fraudulent taking of personal property by a party it was entrusted to. Embezzlement can occur whether the personal property in question is transferred to a third party or not and is most commonly understood as the misappropriation of money.

It is important to note the embezzlement differs from some other theft crimes historically because the party charged with the crime of embezzlement had the right to possess the property or funds but typically improperly used or transferred the funds. Proving an embezzlement charge includes establishing that the employee, for instance, had possession of the property or funds because of their position or that they had authority to exercise control over the property or funds. The employee’s job title, job description and the practices of the company will be evaluated by the court when considering an embezzlement charge.

There are different methods of embezzling funds including skimming off the top, under-reporting and pocketing the difference or taking a substantial amount of property or funds and absconding with the proceeds. Embezzlement is considered a serious white collar crime with serious penalties and consequences for individuals accused of violating embezzlement laws.

As is true of any criminal charge, the facts of the situation, police behavior and other considerations become important to forming an effective defense to embezzlement charges. The right criminal defense approach is valuable in any criminal setting which is why accused individuals should be familiar with the charges they are facing and their criminal defense rights and protections.

Source: Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute, “Embezzlement,” Accessed April 17, 2018

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