Cynthia A. Stewart, P.A.
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Cynthia A. Stewart, P.A.

Mississippi Trial Lawyer

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Embezzlement: the most serious type of theft

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2024 | Criminal Defense

Mississippi laws define embezzlement as the criminal transference of a person’s property by a person in a position of trust. Simply stated, embezzlement occurs when someone entrusted with money or assets takes, transfers, or uses it for personal gain.

A more serious type of theft?

Embezzlement is often confused with the crime of theft; however, it is much more serious because it involves a relationship of trust between parties. It is also important to note that embezzlement of public funds is an automatic felony in Mississippi, making it a very serious crime.

Examples of embezzlement

  • A father entrusts his son to care for his money, and the son takes those funds for his own gain.
  • A company’s accountant takes money from the company’s funds for personal use.

Embezzlement can happen in many other ways, but it’s always a serious crime that people should be extremely cautious of. The severity of the punishment for embezzlement depends on the quantity and type of stolen assets.

Felony or misdemeanor?

Under Mississippi law, if a person embezzles property or assets valued at or above $500, the state can charge them with a felony. Under $500, the charge is usually a misdemeanor.

The penalties for both, however, are serious. At the misdemeanor level, the individual faces the possibility of jail time and a fine of at least $1,000. Felony cases usually carry much greater fines, often at or above $25,000, and prison time of up to 10 years.

Embezzlement is a serious charge. Understanding the crime of embezzlement, the elements that constitute the crime, and its defenses is important because of the lasting and life-altering effects of a conviction.