Most people associate the term “embezzlement” with million-dollar corporations and big business entities. While it is considered a “white-collar” crime, embezzlement is not reserved for high-level CEOs—it can just as easily be committed by a gas station clerk or a mom-and-pop shop employee.
What Is Embezzlement?
Put simply, embezzlement is the misappropriation or misuse of company money, property or time. Examples of embezzlement include:
- Transferring company funds to a personal account or skimming from the register
- Making personal purchases with a company credit card
- Claiming mileage reimbursement for personal travel
- Taking care of personal business while on the clock
- Falsifying deposits, invoices, or other financial documents for personal gain
- Taking office supplies home for personal use
Penalties for Embezzlement
There are several degrees of embezzlement, and the penalties depend on the circumstances and the value of company property involved. The punishments are typically broken down by value as follows:
- Less than $500 is considered a misdemeanor and may be punished by a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of $1,000
- $500 to $999 is considered a felony, and punishments may include up to one year in jail, a $5,000 fine and payment of restitution
- $1,000 to $24,999 is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine up to $5,000 and restitution
- $25,000 and higher is a felony punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000 and payment of restitution