What constitutes embezzlement?

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What constitutes embezzlement?

The majority owner of the company I work at has been cutting himself checks, stating that they are administrative expenses, however he doesn’t do anything for the company. Is this embezzlement and, if so, should I talk to the other owner?

Asked on September 26, 2014 under Criminal Law, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Embezzlement is a unique kind of crime. It is a form of property theft.  It is charged to a person who was entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property and then they steal all or part of it for their personal gain. There is a distinction here that matters: there is a difference between legal access and legal ownership.  The boss has legal access to the money (check writing powers) but ownership of the money is legally the businesses, correct? If you are a party that is in charge of bookkeeping or monitoring the books and you notice discrepancies in cutting the checks and being able to reconcile them with true expenses then you could have an obligation to state something. It puts you in wierd position and I can understand why you would be uncomfortable in acting.  It may be a good idea for you to talk to an attorney on a consultation basis here.  My concern is that you could be obligated due to your position (never mind your moral obligation which is not what I am talking about right now) and not saying something could be far worse for you. Good luck.


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