Embezzlement is a very specific form of theft that involves someone abusing a position of trust to misappropriate resources, generally from their employer. People often imagine someone who is employed by an accounting firm or who occupies an executive suite when they picture an embezzlement case.
However, workers in many different positions at an organization could potentially misuse or steal resources that belong to the company or its clients. There are actually numerous behaviors that might lead to accusations of embezzlement.
1. Taking physical items from the business
Those who take property that belongs to their employer could end up accused of embezzlement, particularly if they use their managerial access or other job perks to successfully deprive the company of those resources.
For example, a team lead at a retail shop might try to pass off their theft of merchandise as shoplifting committed by a customer. The items taken do not need to be retail merchandise. Computers used in an office, food and business equipment could all lead to embezzlement charges if someone gets caught taking physical items that belong to their employer.
2. Manipulating financial systems
Maybe someone works in sales. They could overcharge the clients that pay in cash so that they can pocket some of the money. Perhaps someone moves money from account to account by writing questionable internal checks to try to cover their tracks. They might also just take money out of a petty cash drawer regularly. Someone who alters financial records internally or manipulates accounting systems to take money could very easily end up accused of embezzlement.
3. Using company cards for personal purchases
It is quite common for people at a company to occasionally try to pass off some of their personal shopping or travel as business expenses. They may submit receipts to their employer for reimbursement or use a company card to cover what are truly personal expenses. Those who get caught engaging in such activity will often face at the very least reprimand and frequently prosecution when the total value of the questionable charges is significant.
The more that someone takes from their employer, the better the chances are that they will face prosecution rather than just termination for misuse of company or client assets. Learning more about what actions businesses view as embezzlement can help people avoid or better fight back against white-collar criminal charges with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.