Larceny by embezzlement is a crime under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 30. If you have been charged with larceny by embezzlement, there are three elements that the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt in order to convict you:

  1. While you were in a position of confidence, you were entrusted with another person's or entity's personal property. Here in Massachusetts, common law embezzlement and common law larceny are both under the "larceny" statute. Prior to enactment of that statute, however, this was the basic distinction between the two. That is, common law larceny involves a taking without right, whereas embezzlement involves circumstances in which a defendant was already in rightful possession (but not with title).

  2. You took or hid the property or converted the property to your use without the owner's consent. "Conversion" basically means some serious interference with the other person's rights in the property. Selling or damaging property, or even using it for a long period of time, would amount to conversion. To be convicted of this crime, the intent to convert the property must be a fraudulent one. Therefore, if you honestly believed that the property was your own, you would not be guilty of larceny by embezzlement.

  3. You had the intent to deprive the owner of the property permanently.

Some examples of embezzlement would be situations like the following:

  • Your employer gives you money to buy office supplies. You take the money, buy the office supplies, and keep them for yourself.

  • You work at a bank. A customer comes in and gives you money. You put it in your purse and keep it.

  • A package is delivered to you by accident. You take the package but later learn that it was not meant for you. You decide to keep it.

The potential punishment for larceny by embezzlement, like other larceny crimes, will depend on the value of the stolen property. If the value of the property was more than $250, then the offense will be considered grand larceny, which is a felony. You could be punished by up to 5 years in the state prison, up to two years in jail, and/or a fine of up to $25,000. If the property was worth $250 or less, then the offense will be considered petit larceny, a misdemeanor. This would be punishable by up to a year in jail or by a fine reaching up to $300.

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