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Embezzlement or theft: what is the difference

There are a lot of legal terms that Louisiana residents are familiar with hearing, including theft and embezzlement. However, the meaning of these criminal acts can be a bit confusing for people. To assist you in better understanding the legal terms of embezzlement and theft, we’re going to explain each one below.

What is embezzlement?

In the case of embezzlement, an accused party wrongfully appropriated assets or funds. This could be as simple as charging a customer more than the retail price of the item and pocketing the difference. With embezzlement, the accused party is entrusted with the asset or funds. In this example, the accused party was trusted with collecting funds from the customer for the sale of an item. The accused party wrongfully appropriated the funds by charging more money and pocketing the difference.

What is theft?

In the instance of theft, an accused party essentially steals assets or money. What sets theft and embezzlement apart is that when a person is charged with theft, they were never authorized or entrusted to handle the asset or funds. For example, this would be a customer visiting the retail store that stole a piece of clothing from the store without paying for it. The customer is not entrusted with taking care of the clothing. Rather, they simply stole it.

When you hear charges of embezzlement, they tend to include businesses or organizations that people work at or for. In the case of theft, individuals not associated with any particular organization or business are typically accused of this crime. Since each one is punishable by its own set of standards, it’s important to know the difference between the two. If you’ve been charged with either one of these crimes, it’s a good idea to contact a criminal defense lawyer who could assist you in preparing your case.