Berks County Embezzlement Attorney

The FBI uses the term “white collar” crime to describe unlawful fraudulent acts based on deception and/or the violating of trust. One characteristic of these crimes is that the offender is motivated by some type of financial gain. As of July 2019, the U.S. Justice Department data shows there have been 3,729 new “white collar” crimes for the year. Based on their projections, the total for the year will be roughly 5,500. One common type of crime in this category is embezzlement.

Defining Embezzlement

The crime of embezzlement was clearly defined by the Supreme Court in Moore v. United States. They described the crime as a misappropriation of property that is fraudulently committed by someone who has been “entrusted.” The crime is often confused with larceny. The key difference is that larceny involves theft by someone who does not have lawful access to the property. Embezzlement is most commonly committed by a company or government employee.

Key Elements of Embezzlement Offenses

  • The defendant was in a position of trust or has a fiduciary relationship with the victim.
  • A fiduciary relationship simply is one where someone is entrusted to act in the best interest of another. It may be someone acting in a role as a trustee or other person who has an ethical obligation to honestly.
  • The theft was possible because of the defendant's nature of employment.
  • The crime was committed intentionally and sought to deprive a rightful owner of their property.

Pennsylvania Embezzlement Law

The Pennsylvania Code does not contain a specific offense of embezzlement. Theft is generally defined as an act that deprives the rightful owner of their property and disposes of it in a manner that makes it “unlikely” to be recovered.

Theft by Deception (§3922)

Embezzlement may be deemed as a crime of deception, which is one that involves the intentional theft of someone's property. This is an offense where a “false impression” is created. This may involve hindering the victim's ability to acquire information. The offender may use deception to influence someone they have a “fiduciary or confidential relationship” with.

Theft by Failing to Properly Disposition Funds (§3927)

This offense involves a crime where someone intentionally misappropriates the property of another as if it were his own. It is presumed that an “officer or employee” knows of their legal obligation and potential “criminal liability.” Often these crimes are exposed through an audit.

Misapplication of Entrusted Property (§4113)

The offense is committed by someone in a fiduciary role, such as within a financial institution or government agency. The offender "applies or disposes" of property they are entrusted with unlawfully that is a "substantial risk of loss or detriment" to the property owner.

How Theft Offenses Are Graded in Pennsylvania (§3903)

Level of Offense


Maximum Sentence

Maximum Fine

First-Degree Felony

$500,000 +

20 years


Second-Degree Felony

$100,000 to $500,000

10 years


Third-Degree Felony

$2,000 to $100,000

7 years


First-Degree Misdemeanor

$200 to $2,000

5 years


Second-Degree Misdemeanor

$50 to $200

1 year


Defense Lawyer for Theft Offenses in Pennsylvania

Have you been arrested based on allegations of embezzlement? The Criminal Law Team has a tremendous understanding of how to effectively defend these and many other types of theft charges. We encourage you to contact the office at (888) 535-3686 for an initial consultation.

Contact Us Today!

The LLF Law Firm Team has decades of experience successfully resolving clients' criminal charges in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania counties. If you are having any uncertainties about what the future may hold for you or a loved one, contact the LLF Law Firm today! Our Criminal Defense Team will go above and beyond the needs of any client, and will fight until the final bell rings.

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