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Former Assistant District Attorney
Former Assistant U.S. Attorney

What should you know about embezzlement?

by | Feb 18, 2020 | Firm News

In Mississippi, embezzlement is a serious crime. Today we will look at some of the basics of embezzlement. This includes what it is and elements that make up the crime. We will also discuss how embezzlement may be a federal crime in certain cases. 

Old English theft and larceny statutes specify that it involves trespassing. Embezzlement laws exist to close off a loophole in theft and larceny laws. In specific, you do not need to be trespassing to commit embezzlement. You may be in legal possession of money or funds. But if you do not return this to its rightful owner or use it for its intended purpose, this is embezzlement. 

In short, you commit embezzlement if you have someone else’s property but use it for personal gain. You do not intend to return this property. As an example, someone in charge of finances for a store has the right to handle that money. But if they skim some of that money off to buy themselves a new purse, this is embezzlement. Embezzling does not include selling or buying, either. It also includes: 

  • Giving items away 
  • Using items for personal reasons or gain 
  • Withholding items from the owner 
  • Inflicting intentional and serious damage on the items 

As you can likely tell, while embezzlement often involves money, that is not always the case. Embezzlement laws apply to any type of property. It is a federal crime if the individual takes public property or government funds. 

Do you want to learn more about white collar criminal defense? Are you interested in embezzlement as a crime and how courts handle it? If so, take a look at our linked web page for more information.