Penal Code § 503 reads "Embezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been intrusted." This crime on its basic level is someone in a trusted position takes property from a customer for example and keeps it for themselves and not for the person who entrusted them to accept the items, money or goods. This is almost always an employee-employer situation, but does not have to be. It is also sometimes called a "white collar crime" because it more often happens where the employee is a higher ranking employee - someone who might wear a white shirt and tie. But make not mistake embezzlement can be committed by both men and women and by those in lower ranking jobs as well.
Elements Of The Crime (Summary)
- Intent to permanently deprive the owner of property
- By converting or using owners property for personal use
- After it had been entrusted to the accused by the owner
Embezzlement is no different than other theft crimes. It is a wobbler depending on the amount of property converted for personal use. Anything taken that is valued at over $950 is a "wobbler" and can be charged as a felony or misdemeanor. If charged as a misdemeanor the maximum jail sentence that can be imposed is 1 year. If charged as a felony the sentencing triad is 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in custody and a fine up to $10,000 dollars.
In addition, there are enhancements that can increase the maximum confinement time. Such as the amount taken. The first enhancement for the amount taken starts at $65,000 - which would add an additional 1 year in custody. There are other enhancements as well.