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What is the crime of embezzlement?

Embezzlement is considered under the law as a type of theft that can occur in corporate and other business environments. It can often be difficult to detect because it is usually not physical property that is being stolen. It might be the transfer of funds between bank accounts or the reallocation of stocks and shares. However, it is a very serious crime that can result in imprisonment.

Lawful access, unlawful use

In the case of accounting embezzlement, for example, the person committing embezzlement already has a lawful access of the funds. However, they can use their power to manipulate the accounts so that the unlawful theft that they committed is hidden from plain sight. This is a very common form of embezzlement. As you can imagine, an embezzlement charge can be very difficult to trace and to prove, because of the complexities of the accounts that were being managed.

The aspects of the crime

An embezzlement charge can only be proven as such if certain conditions apply. For example, the property must have been lawfully acquired through a legitimate business or personal relationship. It should then have been subject to an unlawful transfer of ownership, and this must have been intentional. There should also have been the existence of a reliant relationship between the two parties; for example one party had the duty to complete a task for the other.

Embezzlement charges are extremely complex, and they can carry serious consequences for the defendant. If you are facing allegations of embezzlement, it is important to know your rights as well as how the law applies to your situation.

Source: Findlaw, "Embezzlement," accessed Nov. 29, 2017

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