Embezzlement

Under the common law, there was no crime of embezzlement. It is a statutory crime that evolved from larceny. In Massachusetts, the crime of embezzlement is known as Larceny by Embezzlement.  Whereas larceny requires a felonious trespassory taking of property at the outset, embezzlement is a wrongful appropriation subsequent to an originally lawful taking. Embezzlement is, therefore, a modification of larceny designed to cover certain fraudulent acts that do not come within its scope. Although they are mutually exclusive crimes, larceny and embezzlement do overlap slightly under statutes in some states such as Massachusetts. For the purposes of this offense, property is generally defined as including money, goods, chattels, or anything of value. Intangible personal property and 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. One or more persons may be guilty of embezzlement. If there is a conspiracy to embezzle, parties to the agreement are liable as principals. A person who aids and abets in the conversion can also be guilty of the offense.

Larceny by Embezzlement over $250
M.G.L. c. 266, s. 30 provides that any individual and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts or secretes with intent to convert the property of another shall be guilty of larceny if that property exceeds $250 or if that property is a firearm. For the purposes of this crime, it does not matter whether or not such property is in his or her possession at the time of such conversion or secreting. A conviction for larceny by embezzlement over $250 is punishable by the following:
  • Imprisonment in the state prison for no more than 5 years, or
  • A maximum fine of $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for no more than 2.5 years.
Larceny by Embezzlement under $250
M.G.L. c. 266, s. 30 provides that any individual and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts or secretes with intent to convert the property of another shall be guilty of larceny if that property is less than $250 or if that property is not a firearm. A conviction for larceny by embezzlement under $250 is punishable by the following:
  • Imprisonment in the state prison for no more than 1 year, or
  • A maximum fine of $300.
PERSONS OVER 60/PERSONS WITH DISABILITY
M.G.L. c. 266, s. 30(5) dictates that any individual who steals or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, or whoever unlawfully and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts or secretes with intent to convert the property of another individual over the age of 60 or any person with a disability is punishable under the law. In either grand larceny or petit larceny cases, a court may order restitution for the value of the property to be paid to the victim. A conviction for Larceny by Embezzlement over $250 from a person over 60 or with a disability shall result in the following punishments:
  • Imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 10 years, or
  • Imprisonment in the house of correction for more than 2.5 years, or
  • A fine not to exceed $50,000, or
  • Both such fine and imprisonment
A conviction for Larceny by Embezzlement under $250 from a person over 60 or with a disability shall result in the following punishments:
  • Imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2.5 years, or
  • A fine not to exceed $1,000, or
  • By both fine and imprisonment.
EMBEZZLEMENT OF TRADE SECRETS
M.G.L. c. 266, s. 30(4) dictates that any individual who steals or with intent to defraud obtains by a false pretense, or whoever unlawfully and with intent to steal or embezzle, converts, secretes, unlawfully takes, carries away, conceals or copies with intent to convert any trade secret of another shall be guilty of larceny by embezzlement. For the purposes of this crime, the value of the trade secret shall not be a concern nor shall whether or not such trade secret was in the possession of the offender at the time of such conversion or secreting. Trade secrets is termed to include anything tangible or intangible or electronically kept or stored, which constitutes, represents, evidences or records a secret scientific, technical, merchandising, production or management information, design, process, procedure, formula, invention or improvement. A conviction for this offense shall result in the following punishments:
  • Imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 2.5 years, or
  • A maximum fine of $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for no more than 2 years.
In order for the defendant to be found guilty of the offense of larceny by embezzlement, the prosecution must be able to prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
  1. The defendant, while in a position of trust or confidence, entrusted with possession of personal property belonging to another person or entity;
  2. The defendant took that property, or hit it, or converted it to his or her own use, without the consent of the owner; and
  3. The defendant did so with the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently.
Embezzlement by a municipal official has the same elements as embezzlement with two additional elements included, as established in Commonwealth v. Mahoney. In order for the defendant to be found guilty of embezzlement by a municipal official, the prosecution must also prove:
      4. The status of the perpetrator (i.e., a municipal or county officer); and
      5. The identity of the owner whose property is embezzled (i.e., the municipality or county).

FIDUCIARY EMBEZZLEMENT
Embezzlement is the act of wrongfully appropriating funds that have been entrusted into your care but which are owned by someone else. Fiduciary embezzlement requires a showing that the defendant: (1) has a fiduciary during the relevant time period; (2) had in his possession money, goods, or property for the use or benefit either in whole or in part of some other person; (3) converted or appropriated the money or property to his own use or benefit or the benefit of a third person without the consent of the beneficiaries and without the legal right or legal authority to do so; and (4) took such action with fraudulent intent. Commonwealth v. Garrity.

Massachusetts Embezzlement Crimes Defense Attorney
Individuals facing criminal accusations are under a great deal of stress. Speaking with a qualified Massachusetts theft crimes lawyer immediately may ease that worry and also ensure that your rights are protected from beginning to end. Patrick J. Murphy, Esq. is an accomplished criminal defense larceny lawyer who has been successfully defending clients in the greater Boston area for 18 years. If you have been charged with a Massachusetts theft crime, such as larceny by embezzlement, you can rely on the heightened ability of the Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy to guide you through the treacherous terrain of the criminal justice system, and to fight for you every step of the way. The Law Office of Patrick J. Murphy accepts calls from clients 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Call now at 617-367-0450 or email us directly through using our online contact form.

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