Embezzlement

Embezzlement

The offence is embezzlement when the perpetrator steals money or other property that is already in his/her possession. The offence is petty embezzlement when the stolen property is not very valuable or the act is minor as a whole. 

An embezzlement is considered aggravated if the property is very valuable or the money amount very large. Aggravated embezzlement causes the victim serious damage considering the circumstances, or the perpetrator takes advantage of his/her especially responsible position.

Embezzlement differs from theft offences in that stealing is directed at funds or other property that has been entrusted in the perpetrator’s possession. For example, an association’s treasurer would commit embezzlement by using the association’s money for his/her own ends.

In total, almost 3,700 embezzlements and attempted embezzlements were reported to the police in 2019. 

Punishments

Embezzlements can be punished with a fine or imprisonment:

  • for embezzlement, a fine or a maximum of one year and six months of imprisonment;
  • for aggravated embezzlement, from four months to a maximum of four years of imprisonment.