Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

If I am accused of stealing from the company I worked for, can I go to jail?

Posted on: June 24, 2007 at 10:22 p.m.

This criminal conduct is called "embezzlement," and is typically charged in California criminal courts as a violation of Penal Code Seciton 487(a), commonly known as Grand Theft (if the theft exceeds $400). The offense carries a maximum of 1 year in the county jail, or 3 years in prison. If the amount of theft exceeds $50,000, the "Economic Crimes" enhancements are applicable, and the prison time is increased to 4 years and up. The Criminal Law Blog authors have represented many clients charged with "Embezzlement." Where appropriate mitigation is presented to the Court, and the District Attorney, the large majority of our clients have not gone to jail or prison. This is because we worked out alternative dispositions involving community service, restitution, probation, and fines instead of jail. What if the employer wants to drop the charges? The police and prosecutors are usually unwilling to dismiss a case once it is filed, as they are concerned that resources have been expended to investigate, document, and bring the case to court. However, jail or prison are distinct possibilities whenever embezzlement, or other white collar crime charges, are prosecuted in state or federal court.

Tagged as: faq, theft, white collar crime fraud theft laws


Warren Tsu on May 15, 2008 at 10:20 p.m. wrote:

I have to base my response on a limited knowledge of the law and on the penal code listed in this entry, but is an embezzlement charge applied episodically or can it also be applied to a serial situation? For example, If an individual steals $400 from his employer, yes it is embezzlement. However, what if an individual commits petty theft irregularly over a duration of time, perhaps two years, in which what is stolen, e.g. paid lunches, would aggregate to $400 or more? I wonder if that would still constitute as embezzlement.

Kelsey Kernstine on November 12, 2007 at 4:51 a.m. wrote:

I think that if a person is accused of stealing from the company they work for, they should have to go jail/prison. Yes, I do think it depends on the amount of money that was

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