Missouri Embezzlement Laws and Penalties

Embezzlement is often portrayed in the media as a financial crime that involves vast sums of money affecting a large number of people. However, embezzlement isn't always high-profile and doesn't have to impact many people to be considered a crime.

The main difference between embezzlement and other forms of theft is that the crime involves an individual who has possession of someone else's property due to their role or position and breaches the owner's trust by using the property for their own personal gains. Anyone who's been entrusted with another's funds or property can commit embezzlement.

For example, an employee works for an organization in which part of their duties involves taking in payments, making bank deposits, and tracking money. The employee breaches the trust of the organization by issuing a check made out to their spouse and using the funds for their own purposes.

Because it's a form of theft, embezzlement is often treated in the same way as a general theft offense. Missouri is one of the states without a separate statute addressing embezzlement; the state's embezzlement laws reside in its laws that address theft, or specifically "stealing" in the Missouri code. This means that the penalties are tied to the value of the funds involved. The greater the sum, the higher the penalty.

Summary of Missouri Embezzlement Laws and Penalties

When conducting legal research, it's good to read the actual statute in its entirety. However, statutes can be difficult to read because of their length and complex language. That's why it helps to also read a plain English version of the text for better comprehension. See the chart below for a summary of Missouri's drug laws.

Statute

Missouri Revised Statutes:

Elements of the Crime

 

 

Missouri recognizes embezzlement offenses under its theft laws or under the offense of stealing.

"Stealing" occurs when an individual commits the following:

Appropriates the property or services of another with the purpose to deprive the owner of the property or services without the owner's consent or by using the means of deceit or coercion.

Possible Penalties and Sentencing

If the value of the funds is $500 or less:

  • Misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or fines up to $1,000.

If the value of the funds is more than $500, less than $25,000:

  • Class C felony, punishable by up to7 years in prison and/or fines up to $5,000.

If the value of the funds is $25,000 or more:

  • Class B felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and/or fines up to $20,000.

Related Offenses

Missouri Revised Statutes:

  • Section 570.057 (failure to return rented personal property)
  • Section 570.090 (forgery)
  • Section 570.223 (identity theft)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Missouri Embezzlement Laws and Penalties: Related Resources

Speak With a Missouri Defense Attorney About Embezzlement

The consequences of an embezzlement conviction can be devastating to your reputation, livelihood, and liberty. Because of the harsh embezzlement penalties in Missouri, you should speak with a lawyer if you're facing charges. Contact an experienced criminal defense attorney near you immediately to learn about the strength of the case against you and viable options for your defense.

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