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Embezzlement is different than workplace theft

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2024 | Criminal Defense

If an employee is accused of stealing from their place of business, they certainly can face criminal charges. Employees have many reasons why they engage in this type of theft. For instance, they may say that they are underpaid, so they were just trying to “make things fair.” But theft is still illegal, no matter the excuse that is used.

In some cases, though, it’s just minor workplace theft. For instance, an employee takes office supplies home with them or steals a company uniform. It could also involve more major assets, like an employee stealing a laptop computer or a mobile device. But all of this theft, while it is a potential criminal violation, is much different than embezzlement.

How does embezzlement work?

With embezzlement, an employee takes financial assets. The main difference is that they’re not just directly stealing these assets. They have been entrusted with them in some capacity, and they are misusing them or misappropriating them.

For instance, maybe an employee at a small business empties the register every time they close the business for the night. They are supposed to put all of the money in a safe. But the employee begins taking a small percentage of that money home and altering the books to hide it. Accessing those funds wasn’t illegal, but they were supposed to do it on behalf of the business. By misappropriating assets for their own financial gain, it becomes embezzlement.

Employees can face charges for both types of theft, and anyone who has been arrested needs to know what criminal defense options they have. These charges can have a major impact on their future, their freedom and their employment opportunities.