Embezzlement – fraudulent taking of personal property to which one is entrusted, especially as a fiduciary

     This page is continued from Criminal Law Self-Help Walkthrough >>>> Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws >>>> Fraud:


n. (15c)

1. The fraudulent taking of personal property with which one has been entrusted, especially as a fiduciary.  *  The criminal intent for embezzlement — unlike larceny and false pretenses — arises after taking possession (not before or during the taking). — aka defalcation; peculation.  — embezzle, v. — embezzler, n. [1]

1. A statutory offense, not a common law crime; the fraudulent appropriation or conversion by an agent, an employee, a corporate officer, a trustee, a public officer, or other person acting in a fiduciary capacity or character, of money or property, the possession of which has been entrusted to him by another. 18 Am J1st Embez § 2. The word includes misappropriation of trifling sums, made with intent to restore in due time, and with ample present and prospective ability to restore. United States v Summers (DC Va) 19 F 627.  In statutes imposing a double liability in damages for the “embezzlement” of property of a decedent prior to the granting of letters testamentary or letters of administration, the term means the fraudulent appropriation or concealment to one’s own use of estate property in one’s possession. Anno: 29 ALR2d 256. [2]

1. The fraudulent conversion of property, including but not limited to money, with which a person (EXAMPLES: an employee; a bailee; a trustee) has been entrusted. [3]

     Excerpt from Rollin M. Perkings & Ronald N. Boyce’s Criminal Law (3d ed. 1982):

     “Embezzlement is not a common-law crime.  It is the result of legislative efforts to make provision for an unreasonable gap which appeared in the law of larceny as it developed.  Under the early English statute embezzlement was made a misdemeanor, but under most modern American statutes it is either a felony or a misdemeanor depending upon the value of the property converted. [4]

Essential Elements of Conversion:

fraudulent conversion – an essential element of the crime of embezzlement, an appropriation of money or other property to one’s personal use after obtaining lawful possession of it, or of using it for the benefit of anyone other than its owner.

Various Types of Embezzlement:

embezzlement by agent – The crime of embezzlement committed by one in possession of the converted or misappropriated property by virtue of his employment by a principal and the delegation of authority to do something in the name and stead of such principal. 26 Am J2d Embez §26.

embezzlement by bailee – The offense of embezzlement committed by one in possession of the converted or misappropriated property as bailee. Although the hirer of property has been held not to be within a statute of embezzlement which includes “any bailee or other agent,” it has also been held that a statute making it a crime for any carrier, bailee, or other person to embezzle or convert to his own use property delivered to him, is not confined to bailments for the sole benefit of the bailor, but extends to the bailee of an automobile under a hiring agreement, who fails to return the automobile. 26 Am J2d Embez § 24.

embezzlement by employee – The criminal offense of embezzlement committed by a person who is in the employ of another and who, in the discharge of his duties, is subject to the immediate control and direction of his employer. 26 Am J2d Embez  § 25.

embezzlement by fiduciary – The crime of embezzlement committed by an executor, administrator, guardian, or broker. 26 Am J2d Embez § 31.  A statute detining embezzlement by a “trustee or factor, carrier or bailee,” applies to trustees, factors, carriers, or bailees for artificial persons as well as private persons. Anno: 41 ALR 474. [2]


Disclaimer: All material throughout this website is compiled in accordance with Fair Use.

[1]: Black’s Law Dictionary Deluxe Tenth Edition by Henry Campbell Black & Editor in Chief Bryan A. Garner. ISBN: 978-0-314-62130-6

[2]: Ballantine’s Law Dictionary with Pronunciations
Third Edition
 by James A. Ballantine (James Arthur 1871-1949).  Edited by William S. Anderson.  © 1969 by THE LAWYER’S CO-OPERATIVE PUBLISHING COMPANY.  Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 68-30931

[3]:  Ballantine’s Law Dictionary Legal Assistant Edition
by Jack Ballantine 
(James Arthur 1871-1949).  Doctored by Jack G. Handler, J.D. © 1994 Delmar by Thomson Learning.  ISBN 0-8273-4874-6.

[4]: Rollin M. Perkings & Ronald N. Boyce, Criminal Law 351 (3d ed. 1982)


Back to Various Types of Fraud

Back to Fraud

Back to Types of Crimes and Corresponding Laws

Back to Criminal Law Self-Help

Home Page

Like this website?

Please Support Our Fundraiser

or donate via PayPal:


Disclaimer: Wild Willpower does not condone the actions of Maximilian Robespierre, however the above quote is excellent!

This website is being broadcast for First Amendment purposes courtesy of

Question(s)?  Suggestion(s)?
We look forward to hearing from you!