(559) 691-6222
2300 Tulare Street, Suite 215 Fresno, CA 93721


Call Today: 559-691-6222

What is Embezzlement?

The legal definition of embezzlement in California, under Penal Code 503, is the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been entrusted. There are certain elements of embezzlement that must be true in order for a person to be guilty. All of the following must be true:

  • The owner of the property entrusted you with the property (this can be done directly or through an agent).
  • The owner did this because they trusted you with their property.
  • You used that property or fraudulently converted it for your own gain.
  • You intended to rob the owner of the property or its use.

Elements of Embezzlement

Trust from the Owner
You can only be charged with embezzlement if the owner entrusted their property to you. This could happen if:

  • You were an employee of the owner
  • You were the “bailee” of the owner’s property – meaning you had temporary possession of the property
  • You were part of an organization and had the right to manage its money or property


Get Legal Help Today!

(559) 691-6222

Have Questions? Don’t go it alone. Let’s sit down one-on-one. I will review your case and your options for the best possible outcome.

Elements of Embezzlement Cont.

Using or Fraudulently Taking the Property
You can only be charged with embezzlement if you used or fraudulently took the property. This could happen if:

  • You take excessive advantage of another person, or
  • You caused a loss to the owner by breaking their trust

Intending to Rob the Owner of the Property or Its Use
You can only be guilty of embezzlement if you intend to deprive the owner of their property or its use. You don’t have to deprive them of their property permanently, it could only be temporarily. Even if you intend to return or repay it later, it is still embezzlement and is not a valid defense.


Penalties for Embezzlement

The penalties for embezzlement vary depending on the value of the property that was embezzled. There is grand theft embezzlement and petty theft embezzlement.

Penalties for Grand Theft Embezzlement

Embezzlement is grand theft under Penal Code 487 if any of the following are true:

  • The property embezzled was worth more than $950
  • An automobile was embezzled (becomes a form of grand theft auto)
  • A firearm was embezzled (becomes a form of grand theft firearm)

In State Court, grand theft embezzlement could also be smaller items that add up to $950 in a 12-month period.
In most cases, grand theft embezzlement is a wobbler, meaning it can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the circumstance of the case and if the defendant has any criminal history. If the property embezzled was a firearm, then it is always a felony.

Legal Defenses for Embezzlement

You can’t be guilty of embezzlement if you truly believed that you had the right to the property. In order for this to be true, you have to have taken the property openly (not hiding what you were doing), and you had not taken the property because the owner of it owed you a debt.

In order to be convicted of embezzlement, you had to intend to deprive the owner of their property or its use.

So many people get falsely accused of crimes every year and embezzlement cases are very common. Defendants get accused of this crime a lot because they are usually close to the person accusing them, possibly in business or a personal relationship.

Have you been legally accused of committing embezzlement? If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is essential to obtain legal council for help. It’s important to take your charges seriously. Don’t just hope for the best. Hire an attorney who understands your situation and the consequences you face.

Get Legal Help Today.
Phone: 559-691-6222

Your Defense Attorney for Embezzlement Charges

I’m Mark A. Broughton and I’m here to fight for you. I have been a defense Attorney for 40+ years and have represented thousands of people accused of crimes. I have extensive experience representing citizens charged with White Collar Crimes such as Credit Card Fraud, Embezzlement, Insurance Fraud, and Prescription Drug Fraud, to name a few.

About Mark Broughton:

Compassionate, highly experienced, exceptional reputation, ethical and honest:

Mark Broughton has been practicing law for over 40 years. He estimates that he has conducted over 200 jury trials – everything from DUIs, drug cases, sex cases, domestic violence, assaults, “three-strikes,” dozens of cases involving criminal street gangs, gun/deadly weapons, drive-by shootings, robberies, attempted murders, and murders, including special circumstance murder cases.

He has received many outright Not Guilty verdicts for his clients in all of these types of cases, including several murder cases – at one time between 2005-2007, the jury found his clients Not Guilty in four separate cases in a row.

Mark Broughton is qualified as a death penalty lawyer and is on the special circumstances/death penalty panel of attorneys in Fresno, California, where he is regularly appointed to special circumstances/death penalty murder cases by the Fresno County Superior Court.

Other Qualifications:
  • Certified Specialist Criminal Law, State Bar of California
  • Board of Trustees, State Bar of California
  • Chairman, Fresno County Bar Association, Criminal Law Section

Mark Broughton enjoys close relationships with his clients.  He sees every individual’s situation with compassion and empathy and believes that every person has the right to a fair trial and is innocent until proven guilty.

Above all, he enjoys helping reunite his clients and their families during and after dealing with perhaps the most difficult time in their lives, going through the challenging criminal process with them.

Practice Areas

  • Federal Crime 40%
  • White Collar Crime 20%
  • Violent Crime 20%
  • Criminal Defense 10%
  • Sex Crimes 10%

Tell me about your case