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What is Embezzlement?

Although embezzlement is in the same relative category as fraud, it has its own distinct differences. Crimes of embezzlement are filed under criminal law, and they carry serious punishment even though there is no physical injury.

Embezzlement is when a person was trusted to manage someone else’s money or property, and they steal it for their own gain. The key difference regarding embezzlement is that the defendant had the authority to manage. Embezzlement can occur in a variety of different circumstances. These include: employees taking their business’s funds for themselves, financial investors handling their clients’ money, or even family members taking care of a relative.

The law provides elements that the state must prove in order to convict a person accused of embezzlement. Embezzlement prosecutions typically take place at the state level. The amount stolen will determine whether the crime is a misdemeanor or a felony.

In Wisconsin, embezzlement is punished based on the type or value of what was stolen.

  • Less than $2,500: A fine of up to $10,000, 9 months in jail, or both
  • Between $2,500 and $5,000: Fines up to $10,000, up to 3.5 years in prison, or both
  • Between $5,000 and $10,000: Fines up to $10,000, up to six years in prison, or both.

This level also includes embezzling an animal, property taken from a destroyed or unoccupied building (for reasons consisting of natural disaster, riot, or bombing), or property taken from a disabled adult living in a care facility.

  • Over $10,000: Fines up to $25,000, ten years in prison, or both.

This also can be property stolen from a corpse.

When defending a case of embezzlement, it is important to understand the exact nature of the crime the defendant has been accused of. Embezzlement is closely related to other crimes, so it is possible to show that the defendant has been charged with the wrong crime. Because of this, it’s important to obtain an experienced criminal defense attorney.

These criminal law cases often turn on complex evidence requiring both sophisticated analysis and a clear presentation in court. At Hart Law Office, our criminal defense attorneys have both the knowledge to identify the important information and the trial experience to deliver it in a clear, convincing manner. Contact us today for a consultation.



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