In some states, it's categorized as a different crime. In Connecticut, embezzlement is defined as larceny. The failure of Willimantic County prosecutors to prove several points can result in a dismissal of charges or an acquittal.
State laws break down the seriousness of the crime and subsequent punishments, according to the value of property stolen. Sixth-degree embezzlement involves property values below $500. The scale works all the way up to a first-degree charge for property worth more than $20,000.
Someone who embezzles is in a position of trust, like a cashier who handles customers' money or a company accountant. Embezzlement involves the "wrongful appropriation" of funds for the thief or someone else. The trust relationship – the duty to use the property as the owner intended -- and the actual theft of property must be established in court.
Prosecutors must account for the total value of property taken. Remember, the value determines the charge. Lastly, the state must show the defendant's intention was to take and keep or dispose of the property without giving it back to the owner.
Many embezzlement cases involve employees accused of stealing, once or more than once, directly from an employer or manipulating billing, payroll and other company records to disguise theft. Breaking the law is a violation of a pact between someone in charge of managing money or other property and an individual or company. In essence, an embezzler takes advantage of the job of property overseer.
Connecticut embezzlement crimes may be misdemeanors or felonies, depending upon the all-important value of stolen property and other factors. A misdemeanor conviction can mean a stint of a few months in jail or, for a felony, a term of up to two decades in prison.
Embezzlement charges may be dismissed or reduced with a criminal defense attorney's help. Misunderstandings can be cleared up and restitution payments arranged to mitigate consequences.