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How does embezzlement differ from theft?

Dec 7, 2022 | Criminal Defense

One type of theft is known as embezzlement. This happens when someone steals money from a business. In the most basic sense, it is the same as theft because it involves taking assets that are owned by one entity and using them for reasons that are not permissible.

But, in a big picture sense, embezzlement is far different than other types of theft. In fact, it is probably best to think of it as the misappropriation of funds, rather than as the theft of those funds. This helps shed some light on how it happens and what these accusations could look like.

Access to funds

First of all, someone who embezzles money generally has access to those funds in a legal manner. For example, some small businesses will send one employee to the bank at the end of the night to make a deposit. It is not illegal for that employee to have the money that was earned during the day, but this access does mean that they could be tempted to steal from that fund, which is a type of embezzlement.

The cover-up

It’s also important to note that most types of theft don’t have a cover-up. When someone breaks into your house, they probably don’t try to make it look like anything else. They just try to take the items that they want as quickly as they can.

With embezzlement, the emphasis is not on speed, but on trying to hide the activity from ever coming to light. This is why those who are accused of embezzlement often work in accounting positions. Someone may be accused of siphoning money out of a company fund, for example, and then doctoring the books so that it looks like the money was never there to begin with.

In the modern day, this means that embezzlement often uses computers. They may not be used exclusively, but computer programs can be used to transfer money or create records that are not necessarily accurate.

Are you facing charges?

If you are facing embezzlement charges, they can have a major impact on your future and your career. It’s critical that you understand your legal defense options.