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Tennessee Embezzlement Laws

If you steal property or services from another, you can be charged with various theft crimes including robbery, burglary, or embezzlement. The offense of embezzlement occurs when an individual has lawful access to money or property due to their position, job, role, or relationship. The individual takes the property and uses it for their own benefit, rather than the intended purpose. For example, an employee takes money from their employer's expense account to purchase lunch.

In some states, embezzlement is treated separately from theft and has its own statute. However, in Tennessee embezzlement isn't criminalized apart from theft. Tennessee's embezzlement laws reside within the state's theft laws, which are divided into theft of property and theft of services offenses.

Breach of Trust

Although Tennessee's state laws make no distinction between theft and embezzlement in terms of penalties, a criminal procedure statute does acknowledge the classification of embezzlement as a crime that occurs when the actor fails to execute promises related to something or someone entrusted to them.

Tennessee Embezzlement Laws at a Glance

When conducting legal research, you should be certain that you understand everything contained in the relevant statutes. In addition to reading the statutes in their entirety, reading a condensed version of the content can help with learning more about the law. See the chart below for a handy guide to understanding embezzlement in Tennessee.


Tennessee Code Annotated:


Possible Penalties


Because embezzlement is a form of theft, the penalties depend on the value of the property or services taken.

Property or services valued at $500 or less: Class A misdemeanor, punishable by incarceration of up to 11 months and/or fines up to $2,500.

Property or services valued at more than $500, less than $1,000: Class E felony, punishable by incarceration of 1-6 years and/or fines up to $3,000.

Property or services valued at $1,000 or more, but less than $10,000: Class D felony, punishable by incarceration of 2-12 years and/or fines up to $5,000.

Property or services valued at $10,000 or more, but less than $60,000: Class C felony, punishable by incarceration of 3-15 years and/or fines up to $10,000.

Property or services valued at $60,000 or more, but less than $250,000: Class B felony, punishable by incarceration of incarceration of 8-15 years and/or fines up to $25,000.

Related Offenses

Tennessee Code Annotated:

Possible Defenses

  • Lack of intent
  • Duress
  • Entrapment

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.

Tennessee Embezzlement Laws: Related Resources

Worried about Embezzlement Charges? Connect with an Attorney

If you're concerned about accusations of embezzlement in Tennessee, then do the smart thing: Get legal help. Connect today with an experienced Tennessee criminal defense attorney who can mount a solid defense and attempt to minimize the risks to your record and reputation that an embezzlement conviction can bring.

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