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How does embezzlement become a larceny charge?

Embezzlement is a serious charge that can be a misdemeanor or felony, depending on its extent and the amount stolen. If proven, it can lead to larceny charges. Extreme instances can result in multiple fines and considerable jail time. However, the court decides what punishments are appropriate after reviewing the case’s details.

Grand larceny and petit larceny

Virginia defines embezzlement as stealing assets, resources or property entrusted by another party through an agreement or employment. However, the type of charges can vary based on the crime’s circumstances:

  • Petit larceny happens in misdemeanor embezzlement cases. It applies when the embezzled amount is less than $1,000. This charge comes with a reduced penalty of up to one-year imprisonment.
  • Grand larceny applies to felony embezzlement. It happens when the embezzled amount is over $1,000 or if the accused physically stole the goods with a value over $5. According to the court’s decision, its penalties can go up to 20 years of imprisonment.

The court can lessen or increase penalties based on the type of charges, the extent of the crime and how much was stolen. In these cases, the accused can make excuses by saying they plan to return the money or resources they took. However, their actions remain illegal regardless of their explanations.

Proving embezzlement

Like other criminal cases, the prosecution bears the burden of proving guilt. The prosecutor must prove the following:

  • Another party granted you authority.
  • The accused had lawful authority to manage or oversee the assets or resources.
  • The accused misused the resources, benefitting their interest.
  • You intended to keep the stolen amount or goods from the owner.

The accused cannot be guilty unless the prosecutor shows evidence of these elements.

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