What is Embezzlement in Southern California?

California Penal Code §503 makes it unlawful for a person to fraudulently appropriate property of another person’s that has been entrusted to you. This charge is often also referred to as employee theft of fraud. To put it more simply, it is when a person uses their position of trust to steal from those who have entrusted them.

Embezzlement can be extended to money, or personal property, as long as it has been misappropriated by a person who is being trusted with it.

An example of an embezzlement case would be a typical bank teller scenario. A bank tells is entrusted by others to handle their money and protect it. If the bank teller is stealing money and directing it into their own account, they will be charged with embezzlement. Embezzlement is a more serious form of theft because it is being abused by someone who is trusted with the person’s property.

In order for a person to be found guilty of embezzlement they must be in a position of trust. For example, let’s say John and Dan are friends. Dan takes a $100 bill from John’s wallet when he is not looking. This is not embezzlement, John had not given Dan the $100 to watch for him, nor was Dan in a position of trust to watch that $100 for him. In comparison, let’s say that Danielle works as a babysitter. When she goes to babysit for the Smiths, she takes a couple hundred dollar bills out of the Smith’s drawer. This case will meet the requirements for being charged with embezzlement because Danielle was in a position where the Smiths trusted her with their home and property.

Although it occurs in a variety of settings, embezzlement is most often found in the employment arena. If tried and found guilty of embezzlement, the charge will remain on a person’s permanent record until it can be properly expunged. Any future employment that you seek will ask for about the embezzlement charge, adding to the consequences of an embezzlement charge in addition to the imposed sentence.

An embezzlement charge on your record will affect future employment, applications to financial institutions, as well as education applications. A San Diego Criminal Defense lawyer has handled thousands of embezzlement cases and can discuss with you the available defenses and options. It is important to prepare a strong defense for your embezzlement case to assure that you have a fighting chance of having it reduced or dismissed.

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