Accused of Embezzlement in California

If you are reading this article, there is a good chance that you or a loved one had been accused of embezzlement in California. Being charged with embezzlement can be a huge embarrassment for you and your family. 

A conviction can cause you to lose your job and/or standing in your community or profession, and can stain your reputation forever. However, in order to be convicted of embezzlement, the prosecutor has to prove every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. 

A qualified and knowledgeable criminal defense attorney may be able to create enough doubt in the mind of the judge or jury to have the charge against you reduced to a lesser offense or dismissed completely. To discuss your case with a reputable California criminal defense attorney, call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian today at 855-918-4253 to arrange an initial consultation.

Embezzlement - CPC 503

Under CPC 503, embezzlement involves the taking of money or assets from an employer, or in a situation where you had a fiduciary duty (in a position of trust), and then unlawfully converting those assets to your own use. 

For example, when you are employed as a cashier and are entrusted by your employer to receive money from customers, but rather than putting all of the money in the cash box, you pocket some instead. 

Likewise, if you work as an accountant and have access to your client’s money and assets and engage in systematically skimming money from his or her account for your own benefit, you may be found guilty of embezzlement. 

The Penalties For Embezzlement in California

In California, embezzlement is a serious offense that can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanor embezzlement typically involves the taking of less than $950 and is punishable by, amongst other things, up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $1000. 

Felony embezzlement normally involves the taking of more than $950, an automobile, or a firearm. Felony embezzlement is punishable by, amongst other things, 16 months, 2 years, or 3 years in jail, and a fine of up to $10,000.


In embezzlement cases, the prosecutor has the burden of proving that:

  1. You acquired the assets via your employment or fiduciary relationship with the owner; 

  2. You were entrusted by the owner to handle those assets on their behalf; 

  3. You manipulated or fraudulently misappropriated those assets; and

  4. You acted with the intent to permanently deprive the owner of these assets.

Defending an Embezzlement Charge in California

Many people engage in embezzlement because they feel desperate due to a financial crisis, or because of a drug or gambling addiction. However, there are also many cases where an individual has been accused of embezzlement when they have done absolutely nothing wrong.

The prosecutor in these cases has the burden of proving every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. However, if your defense attorney can: 

  • Successfully argue that you believed the assets were yours to use as you see fit; 

  • Demonstrate that you didn't intend to permanently deprive the owner of those assets; or 

  • In any other way, create a reasonable doubt as to the veracity of the charge against you. 

Then the charge may be dismissed or reduced to a lesser sentence. 

Moreover, if you don't have a substantial prior criminal record, your attorney may be able to get you probation, rather than jail time if you are convicted.

Contact The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian

If you have been charged with embezzlement in California, call The Law Offices of Bryan R. Kazarian at 855-918-4253, or contact us here to arrange a free, no-obligation consultation, where we can assess the circumstances of your case and immediately begin to build your defense.