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What’s the major difference between embezzlement and theft?

On Behalf of | Dec 13, 2023 | White Collar Crime

In many ways, embezzlement and theft are similar. They can both be tactics to take financial assets. They are also both criminal acts that could result in arrest.

But the way that they happen is much different, and it’s important to understand this, especially when facing charges. There are elements of embezzlement that are not included with other types of theft, and which need to be present for those charges. So how does embezzlement work?

Access to funds

Often, the difference is the level of access that the person has to those funds and if they are allowed to use them in the first place.

For example, a financial officer at a major corporation may need to use funds from the business to make purchases or pay bills. To do so, they are given access to the company’s financial accounts.

This person then continues to do their job, using the funds properly, but they also begin transferring funds into personal accounts. It is this misappropriation of the assets that is the issue. The person is allegedly using their position of power for personal financial gain. 

With other types of theft, the problem is that the person was never supposed to have those assets in the first place. But with embezzlement, the access itself is legal. It’s just the way that the person uses that access and how they use the funds that makes this a criminal issue.

Are you facing charges?

This is a key difference, and you need to understand how it may impact your case if you’re facing criminal charges. You also need to know about all of the legal defense options at your disposal.