What is Felony Embezzlement?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 08 December 2018
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Felony embezzlement is a criminal charge referring to the misappropriation of at least a certain amount of funds from one party to another. Commonly referred to as a white-collar crime because it normally happens in office settings, its severity is classified based on the value of the items stolen. Punishment ranges from repayment of the funds to several years in prison. There is a difference between embezzlement and larceny.

Embezzlement, by definition, refers to fraudulently concealing the transfer of funds from one unsuspecting party to another party that has knowledge of the transfer. The actual transfer is performed legally and not stolen explicitly, as it would be in a bank robbery, for example. The key is that in embezzlement, the party that originally had the funds is unaware, or has not given approval, of this transfer.

One commonality between felony cases is that most take place in office environments. One example would be an attorney appropriating money to himself from a client's trust fund. Financial advisors have been convicted of embezzling fortunes from clients by directing funds from investments into their own bank accounts.


Whether a case of embezzlement qualifies as a felony is determined by the value of the funds stolen from the owner. Using this logic, law enforcement officials break this crime down into different tiers of severity. Different jurisdictions can have different monetary values for each classification of embezzlement, but they generally follow a similar pattern. One example would be in the state of Wisconsin in the United States, where any embezzlement of less than $2,500 US Dollars (USD) is a misdemeanor, embezzlement of $2,500 to $5,000 USD is a Class I felony, embezzlement of $5,000 to $10,000 USD is a Class H felony, and embezzlement of more than $10,000 USD is a Class G felony.

Penalties for these crimes differ between jurisdictions, but they usually involve either a fine, jail time, or both. In the United States, for example, misdemeanor embezzlement usually earns a fine and possibly probation. Felony embezzlement, on the other hand, can lead to a very large fine and a prison sentence. The severity of the punishment depends on the amount of money embezzled and any previous criminal record of the accused.

An embezzlement charge often is confused with larceny, but these two crimes are different. Larceny refers to taking away personal property from an owner with the intent to deprive the owner of those possessions permanently. The difference between embezzlement and larceny is that embezzling does not deal with physical property.


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Post 10

I know someone getting charged with embezzlement. His ex employer is making the charges and he first claimed that he has been stealing for the past two years, and now is saying that he also has not paid rent for the last 18 months. His former employer was his landlord, too, and there was no singed lease.

Anyway, we are not even sure if he filed the charges, because no one has contacted him directly. It seems to me that his ex employer is making false claims because this guy worked six days a week for almost six years and did everything for his employer. I think he is intentionally trying to screw things up for him because this could

also affect his visa status. We have already been in contact with his lawyer and need to get another one because it is for different states, but if it is determined that this is a false claim, can we counter sue? And could the employer get charged with providing false information to law enforcement?
Post 9

I had an officer of my corporation take a contract for himself that he was sent to negotiate for my corporation. The person who gave him the contract knew he was representing my corporation. Does the company who issued this contract hold any liability?

Post 7

I own a small mobile home park, that I used to live in, I have retired and moved away from the park, I hired a manager to manage the park. I set him up with a bank account to use for depositing the rental income, and to pay the bills. I recently found out that he has been using the account for his own use I believe that this is a form of embezzlement.

Post 6

I have learned in my company that the CFO and the president of the company have been depositing cash funds into a private safety box. The sum involved was in excess of $80,000. The company has learned of the money and the individuals have supposedly paid the cash into the company bank account, but it is not complete. Only $30,000 was paid in.

Has a felony been committed and how do you report this felony?

Post 5

I had a small business with family friends putting on trade shows. We agreed before our first trade show that the RV portion of the show would be mine. We had no problems after the first show and then after the second show when it was all said and done, they wanted the money from the RV part.

Two RV dealers wrote me checks instead of the business for the space and now my prior partner said he will take the checks to the county attorney if he doesn't get all the money. He is broke and now pulling this on me as well as asking my brother for an investment.

Is it illegal to receive checks written to me personally?

Post 4

I own a bar. My sister embezzled $14,261 from my lottery ticket payouts. She was writing it down, but sticking the money in her pocket! Its been nearly three weeks ago and she's paid me $700 back. I don't trust her anymore. She said she'd pay me $800 monthly and has already shorted me $100 out of last month's payment.

I was wandering can I file a civil law suit with an attorney to get my money back? I have all the evidence! I didn't want to put her in jail with the DA part. I'm washing my hands of our relationship, but I need my money back! Any answers?

Post 3

Sunny27- I know that felony law classifies felonies from A though G with the class A felony being the most severe. Usually these crimes are punishable by life in prison and are usually the result of a murder conviction, or sexual assault of a minor.

Some penalties even include the death penalty. If you are charged with any of these crimes it is best to seek a felony attorney because virtually every felony conviction involves jail time that is the main difference between felonies and misdemeanors.

Misdemeanors are considered minor offenses and usually offer restitution and some form of rehabilitation and community service.

Post 2

Anon116474-I am so sorry about your loss and your situation with your sister. To answer your question, you would have to file a police report in order for the district attorney to consider pursing charges against your sister.

In addition, you can file a civil law suit with an attorney in order to seek compensatory and punitive damages once the criminal case has run its course. These embezzlement charges are serious and according to felony law they would probably be classified as a class G felony punishable by incarceration and hefty fines.

Post 1

I have a sister who embezzled over $75,000 from the family business and I feel she should be prosecuted. now my mom passed on and I want my sister to finally get what is coming to her. does anyone have any ideas (WI law)?

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