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Embezzlement is theft by fraud. Embezzlement involves the taking of property owned by another but in the possession of the one who is converting the property to his or her own use. Embezzlement is a white collar crime. A white collar crime is a crime that does involve violence.
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Theft By Fraud

White Collar Crime

Embezzlement is a white collar crime, as it usually does not involve any form of violence. The most frequently charged embezzlement offenses involve employment relationships in which the employee embezzles funds or property from the employer. See: Distinguishing Embezzlement to Other Theft Crimes

Wisconsin Statutory Theft By Fraud Crime

Wisconsin's criminal code refers to embezzlement, but the actual statute under which a person may be charged for an embezzlement crime is theft by fraud, a theft crime.

Posession is a key element to the crime of embezzlement. The person from whom the property was stolen entrusted the person who stole the property with the property that was stolen. For that reason, embezzlement crimes often involve employer - employee relationships, such as bank tellers, cashiers, and the converted property is usually money.

Wisconsin statute 943.20(1)(d) provides that it is a crime for any person who obtains title to property of another person by intentionally deceiving the person with a false representation which is known to be false, made with intent to defraud, and which does defraud the person to whom it is made. "False representation" includes a promise made with intent not to perform it if it is a part of a false and fraudulent scheme.

"Property" means all forms of tangible property, whether real or personal, without limitation including electricity, gas and documents which represent a chose in action or other intangible rights. Intellectual property encompasses ideas, plans, inventions and proprietary information. Content on a website is property.

"Value" means the market value at the time of the theft or the cost to the victim of replacing the property within a reasonable time after the theft, whichever is less, but if the property stolen is a document evidencing an intangible right, value means either the market value of the chose in action or other right or the intrinsic value of the document, whichever is greater. If the thief gave consideration for, or had a legal interest in the stolen property, the amount of such consideration or value of such interest shall be deducted from the total value of the property.

Penalties: If the value of the property does not exceed $2,500, a person convicted of embezzlement (theft by fraud) is guilty of a Class A misdemeanor. If the value of the property exceeds $2,500 but does not exceed $5,000, then a convicted person is guilty of a Class I felony. If the value of the property exceeds $5,000 but does not exceed $10,000, the criminal charge increases to a Class H felony. If the value of the property exceeds $10,000, then the convicted person is guilty of a Class G felony.

Theft from a Financial Institute & Penalties

Wisconsin statue 943.81, Theft From A Financial Institute provides that any person who knowingly uses, transfers, conceals, or takes possession of money, funds, credits, securities, assets, or property owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution without authorization from the financial institution and with intent to convert it to his or her own use or to the use of any person other than the owner or financial institution may be penalized as follows:

If the value of money, funds, credits, securities, assets, property, proceeds from sale, or loan, collectively referred to as "the value" does not exceed $500, a Class A misdemeanor; if the value is over $500 and under $10,000, then a Class H felony; if the value is over $10,000 and under $100,000, then a Class G felony, if the value is over $100,000, then a Class E felony.

However, if the person has previously been convicted of a misdemeanor or felony for theft, burglary, possession of burglary tools, unauthorized release of animals, theft from a financial institution, or wire fraud, then the crime charged is a Class I felony.

State or Federal Criminal Charge

Embezzlement can be charged as a state crime in violation of Wisconsin statutory law, as a Federal crime in violation of Federal statutes, or both. Because of the nature of the crime - usually involving commercial transactions - it often falls under Federal jurisdiction as a violation of Federal commerce laws, interstate commerce laws, antitrust and trade laws, or securities and exchange laws. Even so, the state of Wisconsin prosecutes many embezzlement crimes.

Individuals or Corporations May Be Held Criminally Liable

Individuals may be held criminally liable for the money or property they steal from an employer under Wisconsin's embezzlement and theft laws. As well, corporations can be held criminally liable for embezzlement.

Mortgage fraud is theft of money from another with the intent to deprive that person of the money permanently. Mortgage fraud has recently undergone new legislative action at the federal level, hence more mortgage companies will be prosecuted for mortgage fraud crimes.

Bank fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud are all white collar crimes that fall under the same general provisions of other white collar crimes such as embezzlement. Those crimes involve the taking of money with the intent to deprive the owner of that money permanently.

However, it should well be noted that intent need not be proven. As well, there need not be an actual exchange of money.

Free Initial Consultation

If you are under investigation for embezzlement, theft by fraud, or any white collar crime, by contacting the attorneys at Van Wagner & Wood and placing your case into their hands, you can rest reassured that you have done all you can do to defend yourself against the charges. Van Wagner & Wood's attorneys offer a free initial consultation. Please call ( or statewide) to arrange a confidential consultation. You can also submit your case online or email the attorneys.