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Why embezzlement carries more social stigma than other theft

| Mar 30, 2020 | White Collar Offenses |

Theft is a very common form of crime that involves one person intentionally depriving another of an asset for personal gain. Theft takes many forms, ranging from burglary, which involves someone stealing items from someone else’s property, to retail fraud or shoplifting, which involves people trying to sneak items out of the store without paying for them.

Society generally tends to frown on theft, but embezzlement, in particular, as a form of theft that can impact someone’s social status and future prospects significantly following a conviction. Embezzlement accusations can stem from routing company funds into an outside account or otherwise taking money or assets from the company for personal use or financial gain, which makes it a white-collar criminal offense.

The way that people view embezzlement is the reflection of the fact that embezzlement typically involves a breach of trust or fiduciary duty on the part of one person toward another.

Embezzlement violates a relationship based on trust

Many cases of embezzlement involve individuals taking assets or resources from their employer, but people can also embezzle from the estate of a loved one or even a special needs trust that they should administer on behalf of a loved one with a disability.

Embezzlement involves the use of the trust and authority someone else places in you for personal gain. It is that breach of trust that makes embezzlement such a significant charge, as future employers will have to question whether you will likely misuse your authority or power at their business as well.

It is possible to defend against accusations of embezzlement

Given that there is usually some kind of financial paper trail associated with embezzlement, people facing charges, even if they know they are innocent, may feel like they have no way to defend themselves.

However, forensic accountants and similar specialists can help determine the validity of financial records or even demonstrate that someone else, not the person charged, was the ultimate beneficiary of an act of embezzlement.

From proving that someone had access to the assets another allegedly embezzled to demonstrating the alteration of business records that make them inadmissible in court, there are many ways that someone accused of embezzlement can defend themselves, their reputation and their professional future after getting charged.