What is embezzlement?

The crime of embezzlement occurs where an employee receives property on behalf of an employer, and steals this property before the employer obtains possession of it.

If possession of the property has already passed on to the employer and the employee subsequently steals it, then that is larceny.

The law treats both offences very seriously – the maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment.

Both offences are provided for in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), under Sections 156 and 157 respectively.

 

Section 156: Larceny by clerks or servants

This Section states:

Whosoever, being a clerk, or servant, steals any property belonging to, or in the possession, or power of, his or her master, or employer, or any property into or for which it has been converted, or exchanged, shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.

 

Section 157: Embezzlement by clerks or servants

This Section states:

Whosoever, being a clerk, or servant, fraudulently embezzles, either the whole or any part of, any property delivered to, or received, or taken into possession by him or her, for, or in the name, or on the account of, his or her master, or employer, shall be deemed to have stolen the same, although such property was not received into the possession of such master, or employer, otherwise than by the actual possession of such clerk, or servant, and shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.

 

Embezzlement case study

An accountant was alleged to have embezzled over $500,000 from his employer.

The employer invited the accountant to explain various discrepancies in the company’s books – this was when the accountant realised that his fraudulent conduct had been detected.

Nyman Gibson Miralis were instructed to engage in a round-table conference with the employer and their legal representatives, and after a seven-hour conference, arrived at a resolution. A deed of release provided for confidentiality of the matter and a bar against civil proceedings against the accountant. The result ensured that the matter was dealt with in a low-key and decisive way.

 

 

Nyman Gibson Miralis provides expert advice and representation in cases involving embezzlement, larceny and fraud.

Contact us if you require assistance.