In some ways, embezzlement is similar to theft. In both cases, assets are taken away from one entity – whether it’s a person or a business – and obtained by someone who should not have them. And it is true that embezzlement is a form of theft.
But it’s also very different because of the way that it occurs. With most types of theft, there are systems in place to keep people from taking those assets, but the people override those systems and take them anyway. This is true when someone goes into a bank and uses the threat of a weapon to demand money from a teller. But embezzlement is much less direct and it’s more about the misappropriation of funds than the direct theft of those funds.
A position of trust
Often, embezzlement happens when someone is in a position where they have been entrusted with financial assets or access to financial accounts. Maybe the person works for the company and they have been authorized to make payments out of these accounts or to use the money to make purchases on the business’s behalf. But instead of using all of the money for the business, that person uses their position to transfer money to themselves.
This position of trust can also allow the person to try to hide their actions. They may try to change the financial records of the business, for example, so that it doesn’t appear that any of the funds are missing. Other types of theft are more obvious and the person is simply counting on not getting caught or not being identified. With embezzlement, there is often the intentional action to hide the activity as the person still remains employed at the very business that they are allegedly stealing from.
This makes embezzlement cases very complicated. Anyone who is facing criminal accusations needs to know about all of their defense options.