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Embezzlement

Property

The type of property that must be converted is governed by statute. Generally, property is defined as including money, goods, chattels, or anything of value. Intangible PERSONAL PROPERTY; COMMERCIAL PAPER, such as checks, promissory notes, bonds, or stocks; and written documents, such as deeds or contracts, may also be the subject of embezzlement.

Under some statutes, property consists of anything that can be the subject of larceny. In other states, however, the property requirement for embezzlement is broader. For example, the statute might punish the conversion of both real and personal property.

In some states, the embezzlement of public property or public funds is a separate offense. The offense is characterized by the manner in which the money is received. A court clerk who receives bail money is a recipient of public money and the person can be liable if such money is wrongfully converted by him or her.

The property subject to embezzlement must have some value, even though value is not an element of the offense. Although a check without a required endorsement does not have value, the fact that the endorsement can be forged gives it sufficient value to make it a subject of embezzlement.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationFree Legal Encyclopedia: Embargo to Estate pur (or per) autre vieEmbezzlement - Nature, Property, Elements, Conversion Of Property, Further Readings - Persons Liable, Punishment