Legal Definition and Related Resources of Embezzlement

Meaning of Embezzlement

The fraudulent appropriation to one’s own use or benefit of property or money entrusted by another. Although it is one form of larceny , the crime of embezzlement as such is unknown to common law but is a creature of statutes. while larceny is an offense that may take place between strangers, to constitute the crime of embezzlement, it is essential that there be a fiduciary relationship between the accused and the victim . It presupposes that the money or property embezzled came to the possession of the accused lawfully, or with the consent of the owner , and that a fiduciary relationship existed between the owner and the offender and that the offender appropriated the money or property with a fraudulent intent. See state v Smith, 97 W. Va. 313, 125 S.E. 90. Also see State v Palumb, (Super. A.D.) 347 A.2d 535, 137 N.J. Super 13.

Embezzlement Alternative Definition

The wrongful and fraudulent appropriation of property to his own use by one to whom it has been entrusted by or for the owner. A breach of trust is the essence of the offense. To constitute embezzlement, the person appropriating the property must hold a relation of trust towards the owner, by virtue of which he had possession of such property. 31 Cal. 108; 68 Iowa, 593; 110 Mo. 209. The appropriation must be with fraudulent intent, and by this embezzlement is distinguished from mere tortious conversion. 82 111. 425; 78 Ga. 340; 62 Mich. 276; 50 N. J. Law, 475. The offense is a purely statutory one, and by many of the statutes is denominated “larceny,” but it is commonly known as “embezzlement,” and is distinct from larceny at common law, one of the essentials of which was a wrongful taking from the possession of the owner.

Synonyms of Embezzlement


  • appropriation
  • breach of trust
  • cheating
  • defalcation
  • fraud
  • fraudulent appropriation
  • fraudulent appropriation of money
  • fraudulent conversion
  • larceny
  • malversation
  • misappropriation
  • peculation
  • pilfering
  • purloining
  • stealing
  • swindle
  • theft
  • theft of money entrusted to one’s care
  • theft of money entrusted to one’s management
  • thievery
  • wrongful appropriation Associated Concepts: conversion
  • corporate embezzlement
  • embezzlement of public funds
  • larceny
  • misappropriation
  • theft by means of embezzlement

Related Entries of Embezzlement in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Embezzlement in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Embezzlement in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Embezzlement in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Embezzlement in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

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Resource Description
Embezzlement in the Dictionary Embezzlement in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Embezzlement
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Related topics Embezzlement in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Embezzlement is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


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https://legaldictionary.lawin.org/embezzlement/ The URI of Embezzlement (more about URIs)

Embezzlement in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of embezzlement.


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Policeman
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

English Legal System: Embezzlement

In the context of the English law, A Dictionary of Law provides the following legal concept of Embezzlement :

The dishonest appropriation by an employee of any money or property given to him on behalf of his employer. Before 1969 there was a special offence of embezzlement; it is now, however, classified as a form of *theft.



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