Understanding Embezzlement

businessman holding money with fingers crossed behind back

Understanding Embezzlement

What is Embezzlement?

White collar crime is extraordinarily widespread and happens more often than you would think. In fact, it happens every single day, multiple times a day, all over the world. One of the white collar crimes that happens on a regular basis is embezzlement.

To summarize, embezzlement is when one person or a group of people withhold assets of any kind (this will be explained further) from the original owner to use for purposes other than the original intent. What is important to note that to be considered embezzlement, the assets must have been entrusted to that single person or group of individuals before the crime was committed.

One of the greatest examples is when people embezzle money. For instance, if you were to open an investment portfolio that you provided to an investor and they were to pocket some of that money that they were given or that they made from you outside of their retainer fee, that would qualify as embezzlement, and they could be arrested for their actions.

Because embezzlement is methodological and done with extreme care by the embezzler, the owner of the assets usually has no idea what is happening with their assets. In most cases, embezzlers usually take only small portions of the assets over an extended period of time so that their crime is not noticeable by the owner.

There are multiple types of embezzlement:

  • Property Embezzlement: this includes personal, physical property, as well as intangible, non-physical personal properties.
  • Criminal Conversions: This is unlike larceny. Criminal conversion is when the person entrusted with the assets denies rights to the original owner or denies their right to ownership, and lastly, is when the entrusted party interferes with the original wishes of the owner to a substantial degree.

While there are other forms of embezzlement, these are some of the most common.


Van Norman Law handles Embezzlement and other white collar crime cases. Learn more about our white collar crime defense here!