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Legal Lowdown: Exploring Embezzlement Charges in Virginia

What is embezzlement?

In Virginia, embezzlement is considered a type of theft. In most cases, it is considered theft by an employee. By definition, it is the wrongful taking of money or property entrusted to that individual’s care. Interestingly, embezzlement charges can apply to money, personal property, and even computer data.

How can one be convicted of embezzlement?

To be convicted on embezzlement charges, the Commonwealth of Virginia must prove that the individual’s actions fit the following two requirements:

1. That another person entrusted them with their property, and they were in lawful possession of their property; and

2. That they wrongfully disposed of that property for their own gain.

Larceny vs. Embezzlement

While embezzlement is considered a type of larceny, it is somewhat different from other forms based on how the property came to be in the hands of the charged individual. While other types of theft require the offender to take property without the owner’s permission, embezzlement involves someone who had permission to possess that money or property but who used it for their own gain without permission. For example, if somebody works as a cashier in the retail industry, they have been trusted and permitted to handle the company’s money from sales. If they steal any portion of that money from their employer, it becomes embezzlement.


Embezzlement charges and their associated penalties are divided into two categories, depending on the value of the embezzled property.

Misdemeanor Embezzlement: If the value of the goods embezzled is less than $1,000, the offense is considered a misdemeanor. It is punishable by the same prison time and fines associated with petty larceny in Virginia.

It is a Class 1 misdemeanor, punished by up to 12 months in jail, a fine up to $2,500, and restitution (money paid to a victim to replace a monetary loss) is usually ordered.

Felony Embezzlement: If the value of the goods embezzled is more than $1,000, the offense is punished as grand larceny in Virginia.

It is punishable by up to twenty years in prison, a fine of up to $2,500, and restitution.

Schedule a Consultation for Additional Information

If you are facing embezzlement charges or any larceny charge in Virginia, contact our office. One of our highly skilled, experienced criminal defense lawyers can provide you with a great deal of information concerning the types and classes of theft in Virginia. They can review the details of your case, to determine how they may be able to help you achieve the best outcome.