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What elements must be proven to be charged with embezzlement?

In order for a person to be charged for embezzlement in Connecticut, four elements must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. These elements are proof that the defendant had control over the stolen property, proof that the defendant misappropriated the property, proof that the defendant misappropriated the property with larcenous intent and proof that the property had a certain degree of value.

Because the first two elements by themselves do not necessarily constitute embezzlement, it may be very important for the prosecution to prove the third element in order to bring a conviction. Larcenous intent means both that the defendant was aware that they were misappropriating certain funds to themselves or another person and that the defendant acted intentionally to do so. A person may be shown to have larcenous intent even if they did not intend to deprive the owner of the property permanently.

The fourth element that must be proven, the value of the misappropriated property, will be used to establish the degree of the embezzlement charge. If the property's value exceeded $20,000, the charge will be first-degree. A property value of over $10,000 constitutes second-degree embezzlement, and a value of more than $2,000 is basis for a third-degree embezzlement charge.

Proving that a defendant had larcenous intent when they misappropriated funds that were in their control can sometimes be a difficult task for the prosecution. For instance, a person with little prior financial experience may have accidentally misappropriated funds because of a simple accounting error or oversight. Because criminal charges for embezzlement can involve a myriad of different situations, the information in this blog is not meant to be legal advice. A criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your particular situation and offer guidance on how to proceed.

Source: State of Connecticut Judicial Branch, "9.1-6 Larceny by Embezzlement -- § 53a-119 (1) and §§ 53a-122 through 53a-125b", October 14, 2014

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