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What is the difference between embezzlement and larceny?

Larceny is a criminal charge that is very similar to embezzlement. Many people in the Charlotte area confuse them and assume they are the same type of offense. They are not. 

Here are the differences between larceny and embezzlement.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement is when a trusted person, employee or representative misappropriates goods or funds. The alleged offender must be an employee or legal representative or in a position of trust to the entity/owner and have the intent to keep the stolen money or items for his or her benefit.

For example, the moment a retail manager at a clothing store takes merchandise from the store without paying for it he or she is committing embezzlement.

Another example is a part-time restaurant employee who occasionally misappropriates office, restaurant and bathroom supplies for his or her home, or transfers funds from a client’s account to another account for personal use without the client’s or employer’s knowledge.

With employment embezzlement it does not matter the value of goods or misappropriate funds, the charge is a felony.

What is larceny?

In order for theft or burglary to classify as larceny, the alleged offender must take money or items from someone else without permission and force, with the intent to never return it. An example is if someone “borrows” $500 from a roommate’s wallet without his or her knowledge. There does not have to be any physical contact or verbal interaction with the owner, but there does have to be unlawful access.

There are circumstances where a misdemeanor larceny charge can become a felony, such as the value of stolen goods or money. Anything over $500 is a felony.

Both larceny and embezzlement are white collar crimes. The main difference in embezzlement is the offender abuses his or her position of trust to misappropriate funds, assets and goods. In larceny, there does not have to be any trust, authority or employment with the owner/employer or organization.

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Law Office of Christopher A. Connelly
101 North McDowell Street, Suite 104
Charlotte, NC 28204

Phone: 704-376-9376
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