Committing Embezzlement in California
Let’s say that someone entrusts you with their property (i.e. money, house, bank account) and tells you to manage it for them. If you accept this deal, you now have a responsibility to legally and appropriately manage the property that has been entrusted to you. However, if you do not do this and, instead, illegally take the property you now have committed embezzlement.
The Elements of the Crime
Embezzlement has been delineated by California Penal Code 503 PC. In order for the prosecution to show that the defendant embezzled, there are four elements that must be proven. First, someone entrusted their property to the defendant. Second, that person did so while trusting the intentions of the defendant. Third, the defendant illegally stole the property or used it according to their personal interests. Fourth, the defendant acted so with the intention to deprive the property owner.
Penalties for Embezzlement of Property
If the prosecution proves every element beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant faces either a misdemeanor or felony conviction. The classification depends on the criminal history of the defendant and the context of the embezzlement. If the embezzlement resulted in grand theft, the defendant could face between one to three years in jail and also be forced to pay fines. Petty theft results in a misdemeanor and can require up to six months in jail.