You won’t often find white collar crimes on the front page of a newspaper. Crimes of violence tend to attract attention and push them out of the limelight. But law enforcement takes them seriously, investigating and prosecuting whenever and wherever they can.
Embezzlement is a specific type of theft
In 2018, the owner of a diesel engine repair company, based in Bakersfield, hired an outside accounting firm to review the company’s finances. He had noticed discrepancies in the company’s past transactions, including a check made out to their former bookkeeper for more than $9,000.
Following an investigation into the company’s accounts, the bookkeeper was recently charged with 28 felonies, including embezzlement and grand theft. The accounting firm estimates the company’s total loss to be approximately $400,000. If convicted, the woman could face many years in prison.
Embezzlement is defined in California Penal Code Section 503. It is a theft offense, but it contains specific requirements unlike general theft offenses. The primary difference is the relationship between the property taken and the person who allegedly took it. To be guilty of embezzlement, one must first have been entrusted with the property. Property can be physical property or money. If the entrusted person then wrongfully appropriates that property for their own use, they can be guilty of embezzlement.
Since it considered a white collar crime, embezzlement is typically thought of as involving large sums of money, such as the bookkeeper who was recently charged. But embezzlement can occur at very small amounts as well, such as a cashier who is entrusted with the contents of their cash register but misappropriates those funds. Regardless of the amounts involved, if you have been accused of embezzlement, it is critical that you have an experienced professional on your side to formulate a sound defense strategy.