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Embezzlement versus theft

People work hard to secure and maintain their funds, and a disruption in that can be very detrimental to their way of living. For this reason, any type of theft charge is quite serious.

Even though it is a white collar crime, embezzlement is still a federal crime. Though theft and embezzlement are related in some ways, they are different in the sight of the law.


To commit embezzlement is to misappropriate property or funds that the owner entrusted to you. This may include keeping the assets for yourself or utilizing them in a way other than intended. Depending upon the value of the assets, this charge may be a misdemeanor or a felony and may come with a penalty of up to three years in jail and a $10,000 fine.


In short, theft is the willing and unlawful taking of a person’s property with the intent to deprive the rightful owner of said property. Similar to embezzlement, a theft charge may be a misdemeanor, with a classification of petty theft, or a felony, with a classification of grand theft. These charges may face the same penalties as embezzlement charges.

Distinguishing between the two

Due to their similarities, embezzlement and theft share some aspects, such as the laws that govern them. In either case, a party faces accusations of utilizing assets inappropriately and creating an undo deficit to the rightful owner without his or her consent. However, the differences in the acts still give room for the assessment of the penalties to vary. In the case of embezzlement, the owner trusts the offender with the assets. On the other hand, a theft occurs when a party takes the assets without the owner knowing. 

Whether you are facing theft or embezzlement charges, it is important that you understand the law and process that you will face. By doing so, you will be able to create the best possible defense.

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