What is the difference between larceny and embezzlement?

While larceny and embezzlement are both forms of theft, it is important to understand how they differ from each other.

While theft is understood as taking something that doesn't belong to the person, it is important for people in Tampa to understand that there are different degrees and types of theft. Chapter 812 of the 2014 Florida Statutes states that a person could be charged with theft, grand theft, robbery and petit theft. However, there are other forms of theft that people can be accused of and these include larceny and embezzlement.

When is theft considered a larceny offense?

A man and woman in Florida have recently been charged with larceny, according to NWF Daily News. The charges came after an investigation by the Target Corporation revealed that the man's home was a depository for items that were supposedly given to a charity or that had disappeared from the retailer's inventory. The man was a Target employee who, along with the woman, used a local charity as a way to obtain electronics, furniture and other items. Over $20,000 worth of goods was found in the home but it is alleged that the two obtained $500,000.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation defines larceny as theft committed without violence, fraud or force. For example, if someone takes a bicycle that is parked outside of a store without permission, and without having to break a lock, then that person could be found guilty of a larceny theft. The monetary worth of the items taken determines the degree of the larceny charge. In the above Florida story, the woman was charged with first degree grand larceny while the man was charged with larceny over $20,000 but under $100,000.

What is embezzlement?

A woman in Tampa has admitted embezzling money from the church of which she was an employee and a member. 10 News reports that over a number of years, the woman was embezzling thousands of dollars through software the church used for payroll purchases. The woman is involved in a plea agreement and the woman could be sentenced to a federal prison term of 20 years.

Embezzlement is theft that involves someone placed in a position of trust, according to Cornell University Law School's Legal Information Institute. The woman in the case above was the church's business manager and in that position, she had access to the church's money. Generally, embezzlement is a charge used against employees who take money from their employer unlawfully, but it can be applied in cases where movable assets and property of value was also taken.

Legal options

When people in Tampa are facing charges of theft, including larceny or embezzlement, it is important for them to know they have options. Those options may include working out a plea deal to take a conviction for a lesser charge or exercising their right to a jury trial. In these types of cases, it may be of value to meet with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Keywords: larceny, embezzlement, white collar, crime