Embezzlement is a serious criminal act that can get you into deep trouble with the law. You could face serious fines or imprisonment if you’re charged and convicted.

Embezzlement occurs when:

  • You take possession of a person’s property lawfully
  • You take that property to use it yourself
  • You have no intention of giving back the property

For example: You are asked to hold onto a large amount of money for an upcoming runway show, and you’re expected to give it back or invest it appropriately. You instead take that property and use it to buy items for yourself. You don’t intend on reimbursing the other party or investing as intended. This is just one example of what might constitute embezzlement.

Crimes of embezzlement are most common in corporate and employment fields, but they can involve anyone. Normally, the person who commits embezzlement is a trusted part of the business who receives someone else’s property to manage it, monitor it or use it in a way that benefits the owner. Misappropriating funds or assets for your own personal gain is a quick way to end up facing charges, especially when you were expected to be protecting another person.

Embezzlement doesn’t just apply to money. It could also include taking property, like converting costumes from a set to cash by selling them.

To be accused of, and found guilty of embezzlement, it will need to be shown that you have a fiduciary relationship with the owner of the property. You’ll also need to obtain the property through that relationship before transferring it to someone else or taking ownership of it yourself. Like with most crimes, your actions must be intentional.

Our website has more on embezzlement and what you should do if you’re accused of wrongdoing.