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4 factors must be present to prove embezzlement

Embezzlement is a very serious charge, and it probably conjures a specific image in your mind: you probably think about a man in a suit and tie, laughing in a board room after he just got away with swindling money out of a business account. Or something to that effect.

While it is true that most embezzlement cases occur in the context of employment or business, the person accused of embezzlement is not always some power-hungry individual who purposely committed the acts he or she is accused of committing. Embezzlement is defined as the theft of assets or money by a person in a position of power or trust. The embezzler then uses accounts and other means to conceal the act or obscure the information behind the theft of funds or assets.

It may sound like an easy case to prove, but it is not. In order for the prosecution to prove an embezzlement case against the accused individual, these four points must be proven:

  • A fiduciary duty must exist between the accused individual and the party he or she allegedly stole from.
  • The accused individual must have acquired the assets via the relationship between the parties.
  • The accused individual must have officially and formally taken ownership of the assets, or passed them on to someone else.
  • The accused individual must have done so intentionally.

Failing to prove these four factors could mean the collapse of an embezzlement case against the accused individual.

Source: Findlaw, "Embezzlement," Accessed May 19, 2017

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