The Difference Between Larceny and Embezzlement

Larceny and embezzlement are two crimes that are often confused. However, each has very distinct qualities which set them apart. According to Cornell University Law School, embezzlement occurs when a person takes personal property from someone else and happens most often when a person in Pennsylvania misappropriates money. A person may be found guilty of embezzlement if they keep the stolen property for themselves or transfer it to another party.

When a person embezzles funds from a business, this money must be included on a business’ yearly income taxes. When the person who embezzles funds pays restitution or returns them, the business then becomes eligible for a tax deduction. However, if these funds are not reported as gross income, the business may face charges for tax evasion.

Larceny is a type of white collar crime  that differs from embezzlement because it is defined as the theft of property or cash without personal contact with another individual, states the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This crime occurs when a person has the legal right to be on a certain property and then proceeds to take money or assets without permission. For example, a guest, maid or delivery person may be charged with larceny if they stole items from a household they were allowed to be at. However, if the person does not have any legal right to be at the location, the incident would be considered burglary instead of larceny.

Although embezzlement and larceny differ, both are associated with serious penalties, like the requirement to spend time in prison or pay substantial fines.