What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is simply a type of property theft. What makes embezzlement different from other forms of theft or larceny in Utah is that embezzlement is the theft of assets by a person who is in a position of trust or responsibility over those assets.
This is a common type of crime that occurs in employment situations. For example, a store clerk who is in charge or running the cash register might slip a twenty from the register into her pocket every now and then. The money would be the property of her employer and he is responsible for collecting and accounting for that property.
Accounting embezzlement, while also common, is more complicated than theft. In this case an employee or accountant is given access to the funds of a company. They are then accused of converting some of those funds to their own account and then manipulating the accounting records to hide their theft.
How Seriously is Embezzlement Punished in Utah?
In Utah, the punishment for being found guilty of embezzlement relates to the value or type of property that was stolen.
- Money or property worth less than $500.00 includes a fine of up to $1,000.00, up to six months in jail, or both.
- $500.00 or more, but less than $1,500.00 includes a fine of up to $2,500.00, up to one year in jail, or both.
- $1,500.00 or more, but less than $5,000.00 includes a fine of up to $5,000.00, up to five years in prison, or both
- $5,000.00 or more includes a fine of up to $10,000.00, at least one (and up to fifteen) years in prison, or both.
The type of property stolen is also a factor in how embezzlement crimes are prosecuted. For example, motor vehicles, firearms, and livestock that is raised for commercial purposes all have special protections and considerations under Utah law. Utah Code Ann. §76-6-412