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Are you familiar with the elements of embezzlement?

Getting accused of committing a white-collar crime in Florida can be frightening if it involves embezzlement. The laws associated with this crime were changed to distinguish it from theft and larceny. Understanding how this can affect you if you’re convicted is essential to correctly prepare your case.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement occurs when a person possesses the property of another with no intention of giving it back. They acquire the property by converting it or taking it for their use. For example, if you work in a small convenience store and take money from the cash register and purchase something with it, you could be accused of embezzling the shop’s money. While you have the right to handle the cash for the business, you wouldn’t be able to legally use it for your personal use unless you were given authority to do so by the shop’s owner.

Does embezzlement only involve money?

When you hear about embezzlement, you likely associate it with a gangster in a movie who gets away with taking a large sum of money from another party as this is how this crime is often portrayed. While this is one form of embezzlement, it can also involve other property types. For instance, if you took a business laptop from the store where you’re working and sold it, you can be accused of committing embezzlement. Acts of embezzlement can include the following with respect to property or funds:

  • Selling it
  • Using it up
  • Giving it away
  • Inflicting severe damage on it
  • Keeping it permanently from the owner

Committing embezzlement can come with harsh penalties and place you in jail if you are proven guilty. Understanding how you can be accused of committing it and what it involves is vital.