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What qualifies as embezzlement?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2018 | Firm News |

The phrase “white collar crime” can elicit a strong reaction. There are large implications that come along with the term such as money laundering and forgery, which are intricate and hard to perform.

Embezzlement is a type of white collar crime that has serious consequences. Embezzlement isn’t like some other types of white collar crime in that it can be easy to commit. There are some cases in which you might not even realize you are embezzling from your employer.

However, to be successfully prosecuted for embezzlement, there must be proof of intent. If you aren’t intentionally stealing or otherwise embezzling from your employer, you likely won’t face embezzlement charges, though you still could be penalized. Nonetheless, it may help you to be aware of what embezzlement consists of.

To start, it may help you to know what embezzlement is and what the signs might be.

Components of embezzlement

There are generally three main elements that will qualify your actions as embezzlement:

  1. There must be some sort of financial relationship between the two parties involved, such as an employer and employee
  2. You must have gained the property or other benefit through this relationship. This means you can only have possession of the goods because you are employed by their provider.
  3. You must now have ownership of the property or other benefit, or have transferred or sold it to a third party. For example, if you stole work equipment, it would have to be considered your property now to qualify as embezzlement.


Here are a few common examples of embezzlement you might not realize qualify as white collar crime and can result in severe consequences:

  • Misuse of company credit card
  • Stealing or misusing equipment from your workplace
  • Making false payments to vendors
  • Keeping or making incorrect records such as shift hours

Embezzlement can have serious ramifications. Be sure you know your actions in the workplace regarding finances and other use are sanctioned by your employer so you do not get into legal trouble.