Embezzlement tends not to be an everyday word that people hear often. It is most often spoken in action movies in which the characters create fake identifications and get high-paying jobs, which they use to embezzle money from the company to become rich before retiring to a far-away, tropical island.
The word “embezzlement,” though, was defined in Moore v. United States in 1895 by the Supreme Court.
“Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom such property has been entrusted, or into whose hands it has lawfully come.”
What this means is that, for example, if someone is hired for a job working for the government doing some financial work, he or she is then legally responsible for that money. If that person then decides to misuse or use that money for a reason other than its intended purpose, such as putting it into a personal bank account, he or she is embezzling that money.
Moore v. U.S. also stated that there is a difference in embezzlement and larceny because in embezzlement the criminal received control of the money or property lawfully and knowingly of those who own it. In larceny, the criminal intends to misuse the money when he or she takes the money or position in which he or she can take the money.
Within the crime of embezzlement, there are six elements:
- There is some type of trustworthy relationship between the property owner and the alleged embezzler
- The property is government property
- The defendant gained possession or responsibility of the property through his or her employment
- The property did not belong to the defendant, it is the property of the United States
- The actions taken with the property by the defendant was not appropriate for its own use, it was used for something other than its intended use
- The defendant intended for the owner of the property to no longer have that property
If you have considered using a government position to embezzle money for your own gain, first consider that it is a serious offense. If you have been accused of embezzlement, contact a Naperville white collar crime defense attorney for help. Law Office of Glenn M. Sowa, LLC, Attorneys at Law can assist you with your embezzlement case in Naperville, Ill. today.