To “embezzle” means to willfully take or convert to one’s own use, another’s money or property by reason of some position of trust. Intangible Personal Property; Commercial Paper, such as checks, promissory notes, bonds, or stocks; and written documents, such as deeds or contracts, may also be the subject of embezzlement. The elements of embezzlement are as follows:
There must be a relationship such as that of employment or agency between the owner of the property and the defendant;
The property alleged to have been embezzled must have come into the possession of the defendant by virtue of that relationship; and
There must be an intentional and fraudulent appropriation or conversion of the property.
The law governing embezzlement, 21 O S §1451, defines embezzlement as, “the fraudulent appropriation of property of any person or legal entity, legally obtained, to any use or purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or the secretion of the property with the fraudulent intent to appropriate it to such use or purpose, under any of the following circumstances:
Where the property was obtained by being entrusted to that person for a specific purpose, use, or disposition and shall include, but not be limited to, any funds "held in trust" for any purpose;
Where the property was obtained by virtue of a power of attorney being granted for the sale or transfer of the property;
Where the property is possessed or controlled for the use of another person;
Where the property is to be used for a public or benevolent purpose;
Where any person diverts any money appropriated by law from the purpose and object of the appropriation;
Where any person fails or refuses to pay over to the state, or appropriate authority, any tax or other monies collected in accordance with state law, and who appropriates the tax or monies to the use of that person, or to the use of any other person not entitled to the tax or monies;
Where the property is possessed for the purpose of transportation, without regard to whether packages containing the property have been broken;
Where any person removes crops from any leased or rented premises with the intent to deprive the owner or landlord interested in the land of any of the rent due from that land, or who fraudulently appropriates the rent to that person or any other person; or
Where the property is possessed or controlled by virtue of a lease or rental agreement, and the property is willfully or intentionally not returned within ten (10) days after the expiration of the agreement.
The possible punishment for conviction of Embezzlement varies with the amount embezzled, and a person’s prior criminal history, but a person could be facing up to ten years in prison custody for a conviction if they have no prior felony convictions. Prior felony convictions could increase that term.