Embezzlement is a crime of dishonesty that can result in serious financial losses and emotional distress. In contrast to other crimes of dishonesty, such as theft, the accused is likely to have had legal access to the funds or property that have been misappropriated.
For the most part, embezzlement concerns a person who has been placed in a position of trust and then goes on to abuse this position for their own financial gain.
There must be a fiduciary relationship
A fiduciary relationship is founded upon a bond of trust. This means that the fiduciary must act in the best interests of the person who is relying on them. A failure to do so is a breach of fiduciary duty, which can amount to a criminal offense in some instances. For example, if a financial advisor has abused their position with a client and misappropriated funds, this could amount to embezzlement.
Property must change hands
Some fiduciaries are placed in a position where they regularly handle other people’s money. Nonetheless, this does not necessarily mean that possession has been transferred. For instance, a cashier may have had access to the safe, but this does not mean that they have taken possession. In order for potential embezzlement to arise, funds must be transferred and used for the benefit of the person who had access to them.
There must be intent
If a person is to be found guilty of embezzlement, then they must have been fully aware of what they were doing, and there must be intent. If property or funds were transferred by mistake, this would not suffice.
White-collar crimes are serious offenses, and embezzlement is no exception. If you find yourself facing charges in Minessota, be sure to explore your legal options.