Discerning the difference between embezzlement and larceny in MD

Embezzlement and larceny are crimes of theft that have definite similarities; however, they also have strong differences.

When a person is charged with embezzlement or larceny in Maryland, it may be difficult to understand the difference between the two. Both larceny and embezzlement are considered white-collar crimes and both involve the improper handling of assets or property. These charges, however, have definite distinctions and come with varying penalties depending on the severity of the crime.

A closer look at embezzlement

When people are in charge of taking care of a company's or person's assets or property, and they misuse their position of trust to illegally reallocate those belongings to a third-party or themselves, they may be charged with embezzlement, according to Cornell University. In order to determine if embezzlement has taken place, the judge appointed to the case will look at whether the person's job title or job description put him or her in charge of the property.

People who are charged with embezzlement are required to report the fraudulent funds on their federal income tax. Once the deficient amount is repaid or an agreement has been worked out for the embezzler to make restitution payments, a tax reduction may be available. However, if embezzlers do not account for the fraudulent amount on their taxes, they may be charged with tax evasion.

Such is the case with a Westminster man, who embezzled over $900,000 from his own company and failed to claim the fraudulent money on his taxes. The man now faces a $250,000 fine in addition to a possible five-year jail sentence. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, District of Maryland, the man had embezzled money by creating and incorporating a fictitious company. He then had his company pay a finder's fee of 5 percent of the total contract amount to the imaginary company for referring contracts to them, even though the fake company had no part in the transactions. He also created fraudulent checks from his company account, which were paid out to vendors who the company had conducted business with in the past, but had no outstanding balance.

What is larceny?

In larceny cases, the person who inappropriately acquired property or assets never actually had responsibility over them in the first place, according to Cornell University. A person charged with larceny must have the intention of depriving the other person of their belongings permanently, and may use those stolen assets to better their own financial situation.

How an attorney can help

Being convicted of embezzlement or larceny can lead to serious penalties, including fines, jail time and a criminal record. These serious charges can jeopardize your employment, future career and everything that you have worked hard to create. If you have been charged with embezzlement or larceny, it is crucial that you have strong legal representation. A criminal defense attorney can ensure that all of your rights are upheld in a Maryland court of law and that you receive a fair trial.

Top Tier Firm Devoted to Complex Cases

  • Leadership Positions

    Members of our firm have held leadership positions, including Chair of the American Bar Association White Collar Subcommittee on Federal Sentencing & the American Bar Association Subcommittee on Forfeiture.

  • Knowledge & Experience

    With nearly 100 years of combined experience and insights into complex federal and white collar criminal defense.

  • Honors & Accolades

    Attorneys at Nathans & Ripke LLP have been recognized by Best Lawyers® as the Best Criminal Defense Attorney for Baltimore in 2015, the Best White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyer for Baltimore in 2021, and the Best Lawyers in America® 2008-2021.

Schedule a Confidential Consultation

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
    • Please enter your email address.
      This isn't a valid email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
Put Us On Your Side