Embezzlement is the act of fraudulently obtaining property or finances that have been entrusted to your care. This is a form of white collar crime that results in the loss of millions of dollars annually.
How it Works
The person who embezzles assets will have personal access to them as part of their working responsibilities. They may be expected to invest or oversee money held in corporate accounts, and over time, they will filter small portions of that money to a private account in their own name. This is usually done in very small increments so that the loss will not be noticed during a casual review. The company may be making large profits and not even realize that a portion of those profits is being taken away on a regular basis. While the amount that is embezzled will usually be very small, over time the continued Embezzlement of profits can result in large amounts of personal gain.
Another example of embezzlement is the taking of company or personal property that has been entrusted to an individual in a work scenario. This can involve the taking of company assets from a building, home or company vehicle that has been left in the individual's care.
Long Term Personal Gain
For an act to be considered as Embezzlement, the person who takes either the money or property must be shown to have done so with the intent of keeping the assets and using them for their own personal gain. If it can be shown that the person intended to return these items at any point, their actions will not be considered as Embezzlement. However, when it is clear that the person took any asset for their own use, whether it be money put into their private account, items taken for their own gain or property that is stolen to be sold for a profit, then the case will receive the distinction of Embezzlement.
Embezzlement is generally thought of as a form of theft, which is defined as "the taking of almost anything of value without the consent of the owner, with the intent to permanently deprive him or her of the value of the property taken." It is sometimes confused with the crime of larceny; however, when larceny occurs, the person taking the property did not have personal control over it.