Embezzlement

Have you been charge with Embezzlement in Boston, Massachusetts? Choose an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer. Choose O'Brien Law Boston.

The crime of embezzlement comes under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30. At common law, embezzlement, larceny, and obtaining property by false pretenses were three separate crimes, but in an attempt to simplify things, Massachusetts has combined the three into one crime called “larceny.” However, the differences between embezzlement, larceny and obtaining property by false pretenses are still significant because the prosecutor will have to prove each element of one of those crimes to convict you under this all-inclusive statute.

Embezzlement is essentially the conversion of another person’s property after the defendant was in lawful possession of that property. “Conversion” means interfering with the other person’s rights to the property in a serious way. Examples of “conversion” of property include selling it, using it for an extended period of time, and damaging it. In order to be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecutor has to prove that the defendant intended to convert the property fraudulently. So, for example, if the defendant had an honest belief that the property was his own, he would not be guilty of embezzlement. In sum, the principal difference between larceny and embezzlement is the way in which the property was acquired. Embezzlement involves a situation where the criminal already had rightful possession of the property, whereas larceny involves a taking with no right to the property.

There are five elements in a typical definition of embezzlement, each of which are necessary in proving the crime. Although they may vary based on the statute, the following are the most standard:

  1. Fraudulent. This means that the defendant willfully, without a right to claim or mistake being made, converted the property in question to their personal use.
  2. Conversion: This element requires that the defendant interfered with the rightful owner’s property rights in a substantial way.
  3. Property: Current statutes do not limit the scope of embezzlement to conversions involving personal property. Usually any tangible or intangible personal property are included, while real property is typically excluded.
  4. Of Another: It is not possible to embezzle one’s own property. Therefore, another party must be involved.
  5. Lawful Possession: This is a critical element. The defendant must have been in lawful possession of the property in question at the time the fraudulent conversion occurred (not only custody- if the defendant had only custody, the crime changes to larceny). This can also be the most difficult part of an embezzlement case to figure out.

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With over 20 years of experience, Francis T. O’Brien Jr. is one of Boston’s most knowledgeable and skilled criminal defense attorneys. His reputation for success is a testament to his expertise. To speak with Attorney O’Brien, click here or call Francis T. O'Brien Jr. at Parker | Scheer LLP twenty-four hours, seven days a week toll free at 617-512-0939. There is no fee charged to discuss your case, and all information furnished will be kept strictly confidential.