What is embezzlement? Good question. It can be said that embezzlement is theft, but theft isn’t necessarily embezzlement. By its very nature, embezzlement involves a breach of inherent trust, a general theft doesn’t. The term “embezzlement” simply refers to a particular type of theft. It is a theft involving an individual who is in a position of trust or responsibility over another person’s/ entity’s property or money, and that individual fraudulently takes the property or money of that person/ entity for himself. Usually this type of ‘theft’ is associated with employer/employee relationships.
Embezzlement involves situations where the actor has prior control over the property of the employer/ person/ entity. The act of embezzlement is a theft because it involves an unauthorized use of the employer’s/ person’s/ entity’s property for the benefit of the embezzler. Anyone who has lawful possession of someone else’s money or goods and who then fraudulently takes or uses that property for their own unauthorized personal use, is embezzling and could potentially be charged with theft.
What are the penalties associated with embezzlement? It depends on the value of the property that is taken. According to RCW 9A.56.030, a person is guilty of first-degree theft if he or she commits theft of property that exceeds $5,000 in value. Theft in the first degree is a Class B felony and is punishable by confinement up to ten years and a fine of up to $20. According to RCW 9A.56.040, a person is guilty of second-degree theft if he or she commits theft of property that is between $750 and $5,000 in value. Theft in the second degree is a Class C felony, and is punishable by confinement up to five years, and a fine of up to $10,000. According to RCW 9A.56.050, a person is guilty of third-degree theft if he or she commits theft of property that is less than $750 in value. Theft in the third degree is a gross misdemeanor, and is punishable by confinement of up to a year, and a fine of up to $5,000.
Whenever cited for a crime it is imperative to hire a qualified Seattle Criminal Defense Attorney. The Seattle Criminal Defense Attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle Criminal Defense Lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested or charged for crime all across Western Washington and the Greater Puget Sound region. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances of the given case. So, whether you are cited with an infraction or arrested and/or charged with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or a felony, protect yourself … call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900.