Embezzlement Crime in California

The fraudulent conversion of another’s property entrusted to a person who is in a position of trust by the rightful owner is considered to be an embezzlement.

According to California law (Penal Code §503 ) embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted.

Thus the crucial characteristics of embezzlement are the following:

  • Link with the victim,
  • A person who commits embezzlement must be entrusted with property,
  • The intent to deprive the owner of their property fraudulently taking it as own.

In general, the embezzlement is considered to be an employment offense. California Penal Code §503  states that every person entrusted in the frames of employment ties who fraudulently appropriates to any use or purpose not in the due and lawful execution of owner’s trust, any property in his or her possession or under his or her control by virtue of that trust, or secretes it with a fraudulent intent to appropriate it to that use or purpose, is guilty of embezzlement.

It has to be noted that the main difference between embezzlement and other forms of theft is that the rightful owner entrusted their property to the offender.

Embezzlement can be punished as either under California Penal Code sections 487 grand theft (if the value of the embezzled property is worth more than $950) or as under California Penal Code sections 488 petty theft (if the value is $950 or less). Embezzlement may be either a felony or a misdemeanor, that is to say it is a “wobbler”. The incrimination depends on the criminal history of the person as well as objective circumstances of the offense.




Grand theft

sentencing of up to one year in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine

sentence of 16 months, or two or three years in the California State Prison, and a $10,000 maximum fine

Petty theft

face up to six months in a county jail and a maximum $1,000 fine

Whenever, magistrate, or an indictment found by a grand jury, charging the commission of embezzlement can mitigate the punishment if there is an information that:

  • The accused person voluntarily and actually restores, or
  • Tenders restoration of the property alleged to have been embezzled(or any part thereof).

Have you or a loved one faced accusations of embezzement in California? The Margarian Law Firm aggressively protects the rights of criminal defendants in California. Each defense will be developed upon the facts of your individual case. Do not hesitate to contact us. You will get your legal assistance as soon as you contact us. We handle every aspect of your case, from the first step to the very last court hearing.

You may file your request online, by telephone or by mail. 818-553-1000

Copyright © 2014 The Margarian Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.