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New Jersey Embezzlement Laws

A trusted employee stealing money from the workplace is more common than we would like to imagine. Although this isn't the only way that embezzlement occurs, employee theft is one of the most prevalent forms of the crime. In order to commit this offense, an individual in legal possession of property because of their job, relationship, or position, takes the property and uses it for reasons other than what they were entrusted to do with the property. The fact that the embezzler has the intent to commit fraud after gaining possession of the property is an element that distinguishes embezzlement from other theft crimes. For instance, a recycling company employee overpays a scrap metal collector for metal scrap and shares in the improper earnings.

State laws handle embezzlement differently, some with separate statutes for the crime. New Jersey doesn't have such a law and charges embezzlement under its general theft statute.

New Jersey Embezzlement Laws at a Glance

The chart below provides a summary of statutes related to New Jersey's embezzlement laws, including links to important code sections.



  • If the property value is less than $200; a disorderly persons offense is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000 or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.
  • If property is valued between $200-$500, the offense is a fourth degree crime, punishable by imprisonment for 18 months and/or a fined up to $10,000 or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.
  • Worth more than $500 but less than $75,000, the offense is a third degree crime punishable by imprisonment term ranging from 3-5 years and/or a fine up to $15,000, or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater
  • The property amount is $75,000 or more, the crime is in the second degree punishable by an imprisonment term ranging from 5-10 years and/or a fine up to $150,000, or double the amount of the victim's loss, whichever is greater.

Possible Defenses

  • Lack of intent
  • Duress
  • Entrapment

Related Offenses

  • Identity Theft: New Jersey Statutes 2C:21-17
  • Forgery: New Jersey Statutes 2C: 21-1

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.

New Jersey Embezzlement Laws: Related Resources

Talk to a New Jersey Attorney about Embezzlement

Because embezzlement is a breach of trust crime, a conviction can threaten your freedom and your ability to gain employment. If you've been accused of embezzlement in New Jersey, then you should consider talking to an experienced attorney who can evaluate your case and give you options. Contact a criminal defense attorney today.

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