Differences between theft and embezzlement
Your boss comes to you and asks if you can deliver some cash to the bank for a deposit. Of course, you say yes. When you get to the bank, you think “My boss won’t realize that a few hundred dollars went missing,” and you pocket some of the money. A few days later, the police show up to work and arrest you for embezzlement.
“What is embezzlement?” you are probably thinking. “I didn’t commit embezzlement, I committed theft.”
Embezzlement is a form of theft, but it is a separate charge under California Penal Code Section 503. Here is how the crime of embezzlement differs from theft:
Explaining California Theft Offenses (PC 487, 488)
Theft is defined as the unlawful and willful taking of another person’s personal property with the intent to deprive the person of that property. This crime is divided into different classes based on the value of the property taken:
- Petty theft (PC 488) – Petty theft can be charged when the value of the property taken is less than $950. This crime is a misdemeanor that carries a punishment of up to six months in county jail and fines of up to $1,000.
- Grand theft (PC 487) – Grand theft is when the property taken is valued at $950 or more. This is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. If convicted of misdemeanor grand theft, you face up to 364 days in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine. A felony grand theft conviction can result in up to three years in county jail and a maximum $10,000 fine.
How is Embezzlement Different than Theft? (PC 503)
Embezzlement is defined by California Penal Code Section 503 as the “fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.”
The important distinction between embezzlement and theft is that embezzlement involves property that was willingly entrusted to you by its lawful owner. This crime commonly occurs when an employee or a representative funnels company funds or property to their own personal account without the consent or knowledge of the employer.
Embezzlement is a wobbler crime, meaning you could be charged with a misdemeanor ro a felony depending upon the value of the property taken:
- Misdemeanor embezzlement – When the property taken is valued at less than $950, you will likely be charged with a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor embezzlement is punishable by up to 364 days in county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine.
- Felony embezzlement – If the property taken is valued at $950 or more, you may be convicted of felony embezzlement, which carries a punishment of up to three years in county jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Contact the Embezzlement Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you love is facing charges of theft or embezzlement, you should speak to a skilled and knowledgeable embezzlement defense lawyer immediately. This charge is very serious, and you need someone who has the experience and knowledge necessary to help you obtain the best possible outcome in your case. That is why you should contact Wallin & Klarich.
Our criminal defense lawyers have more than 40 years of experience successfully defending clients facing embezzlement charges. Let us help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, you can find an experienced Wallin & Klarich embezzlement defense attorney available near you no matter where you are located.
Call our office today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will be there when you call.