Embezzlement involves taking property that has been entrusted to you but belongs to someone else. Embezzlement tends to be thought of as someone taking large sums of money from a company. Most often, it involves employees taking small sums of money or property from a business. Embezzlement differs from theft because you may not intend to keep the items or property permanently.
Some common examples:
- You are responsible for going to the bank and making deposits for your club. You regularly take $100 out of the deposit for yourself.
- As a bookkeeper, you pay the $100 power bill by writing yourself a check for $200. You cash the check and pocket the difference.
Penalties for Embezzlement
- In California, embezzlement can be punished similarly to grand theft or petty theft, depending on the value of the items or property.
- If the items are worth more that $950 or are an automobile or firearm, it is considered grand theft which can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanor embezzlement is punishable by up to 1 year in jail. Felony embezzlement is punishable by up to 3 years in prison.
- For petty theft (value under $950), it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail.