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What is embezzlement?

The news in California reports daily on a variety of different criminal charges with which people are charged. While most people have an understanding of murder and larceny charges, some do not fully understand embezzlement and what constitutes the crime. Embezzlement and other white collar crimes are generally slightly more complex than larceny, requiring and in depth knowledge of the law and related issues in order to mount a strong defense.

Laws regarding embezzlement came into being because of the differences between it and larceny. In larceny, a  prosecutor must prove that the accused took property or assets that they had no right to have in their possession. In contrast, embezzlement involves a person taking assets with which they were entrusted. This includes keeping those assets, usually money, or transferring them to a third party.

Additionally, the Internal Revenue Services requires that funds that have been embezzled be claimed on personal tax refunds.  If a person is convicted of embezzlement and had claimed it as income resulting in a return of the funds or restitution, they can receive a deduction. However, failure to claim such income can result in additional tax evasion charges.

Many companies have created measure to protect itself from embezzlement, such as splitting certain duties among multiple employees. If an employee is suspected of embezzling in a situation such as this, prosecutors will likely have to prove collusion as well. For those accused of embezzling in California, seeking knowledgeable assistance can help the accused identify the different options available to them and pursue the best possible outcome.

Source: law.cornell.edu, "Embezzlement", , Sept. 14, 2014

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