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Embezzlement (PC 503) – Prosecution

Embezzlement Charges – California Penal Code 503 PC Prosecution

To help you become more familiar with embezzlement charges in California, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich want to share with you what the prosecution needs to prove in order to convict you of this offense.

Embezzlement Under California PC 503

Punishment of a PC 503 embezzlement conviction.
The consequences for an embezzlement conviction under PC 503 are very severe.

California PC 503 defines embezzlement as the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. In order to convict you of embezzlement, the prosecution must prove the following:

  1. An owner of property (or the owner’s agent) entrusted his or her property to you  AND
  2. The owner (or the owner’s agent) did so because he or she trusted you  AND
  3. You fraudulently converted or used that property for your own benefit  AND
  4. When you converted or used the property, you intended to deprive the owner of its use


The major difference between embezzlement and other forms of theft is the requirement that the property was entrusted to you by the rightful owner. In order to be convicted of embezzlement, you must have legally possessed the property or were given authority to access it. These situations typically arise within the employment context when an employer gives an employee permission to hold onto goods or money belonging to the business.

For example: You are working for a bank and your boss gives you a roll of the bank’s money and asks you to deposit it in the vault. The employer’s act of giving you the money for a specific purpose is known as entrustment. If you decide to take the money for yourself rather than depositing it in the vault as your employer told you to do, you can be convicted of embezzlement.

Fraudulent behavior

In order to be convicted of embezzlement under California PC 503, you must have engaged in fraudulent behavior or conduct with respect to the property in question. This occurs when you take undue advantage of another person or cause that person a loss by breaching a duty of trust or confidence owed to them. A duty of trust or confidence can be implied depending upon the nature of your relationship with the victim. Common examples of when such a duty is implied include employer/employer, lawyer/client, and doctor/patient relationships.


California PC 503 requires that you converted or used the property for your own benefit, and that at the time of conversion, you intended to deprive the owner of its use. Conversion is simply another word for “taking” one’s property and using it for your own benefit. Contrary to other theft related crimes, you do not need to have intended to permanently deprive the owner of its use. Therefore, if you take property with the intent to return it to the owner later, you can still be convicted of embezzlement even if owner was only temporarily deprived of its use for a short amount of time.

Agent of the owner

You can also be convicted of embezzlement if the person who gave you the property was an agent of the owner, rather than the owner himself. An agent is someone to whom the owner has given complete or partial authority and control over the owner’s property. Therefore, if a supervisor or employee gives you property to hold onto or use for the employer’s behalf, you can be convicted of embezzlement if you decide to take the property and use it for your own purposes.

Contact an Attorney at Wallin & Klarich Today

Wallin & Klarich embezzlement lawyers.
We will get through this together.

Drawing from extensive experience, our talented defense lawyers will thoroughly review your case and develop an effective defense strategy specifically tailored to your case. Our goal is to provide you with the best legal representation possible and help you win your case.

With offices in Orange County, Los Angeles, Torrance, Sherman Oaks, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, Wallin & Klarich has successfully represented clients facing embezzlement charges in California for over 30 years.

Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL (466-5245) or fill out our intake form. We will get through this together.

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