Referenced in many tv shows and movies, embezzlement is amongst the most notorious crimes. Despite this, most people do not know what actions constitute embezzlement, nor do they know the consequences associated with the crime. In general terms, embezzlement is a financial crime that occurs when one person abuses a position of trust and misuses another person’s property.

Minnesota Embezzlement Attorney

Embezzlement is prosecuted harshly under Florida law. If convicted, it count mean significant fines and incarceration. If you have been arrested for embezzlement, contact experienced criminal defense lawyer James Blumberg at James Blumberg Law. Let him review your case and explain exactly what you are up against.

Mr. Blumberg is prepared to explore possible defenses with you and the best ways to approach your case to possibly avoid charges and conviction, or reduce the penalties you face. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule an initial consultation today.

James Blumberg Law accepts white collar crime cases throughout Dakota County, including Apple Valley, Lakeville, Eagan, Burnsville, Rosemount, Farmington, Inver Grove Heights and West St. Paul.

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Information Center

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Elements Of Embezzlement

For a prosecutor to win on embezzlement charges, they must prove the following:

  1. The existence of a relationship of trust between the two parties;
  2. The defendant acquired possession of the property through the relationship of trust; and
  3. The defendant must have intentionally taken ownership of the property.

The specific elements of embezzlement vary from state to state. Many states do not consider embezzlement a separate crime from theft. However, in Minnesota, the state addresses embezzlement in a hybrid-like manner. This hybrid approach separates private embezzlement from public embezzlement.

When an individual misuses public funds, such as grant money or public benefits, Minnesota law provides a criminal cause of action, allowing the prosecutor to bring charges. This criminal cause of action is the embezzlement of public funds. The reasoning behind making public embezzlement a direct crime is that it is a violation of the public or general trust. This is typically considered a more severe crime and allows the state to seek harsher penalties.

For the embezzlement of private funds, Minnesota prosecutors will seek charges based on theft rather than embezzlement. This is because the misappropriation of private funds is not covered under the embezzlement statute, which only applies to the misuse of public funds. Nevertheless, the penalties associated with embezzlement of private funds can be severe and depend on several factors.

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Common Examples Of Embezzlement

Although seen on television, many believe that embezzlement does not occur in their workplace or in their close relationships. However, embezzlement occurs every day throughout Minnesota.

Some forms of embezzlement are as follows:

  1. When a company employee writes a check or makes payments from the business account to his personal account.
  2. When a cashier wrongfully takes money out of the cash register and puts it in their wallet or purse.
  3. When an employee overcharges a customer for services and keeps the remainder of the money.
  4. Stealing office supplies from employers can constitute embezzlement.
  5. Claiming company equipment was lost or stolen when an employee retained ownership of the equipment.

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What Are The Penalties For Embezzlement?

Embezzlement can come in various forms, and as such, the penalties associated with embezzlement vary in severity. In simple terms, the greater the embezzlement, the greater the penalty. Minnesota law distinguishes the penalties associated with theft and embezzlement by the value of the property in question. Essentially, embezzling $1,000,000.00 from the bank will have much more severe penalties than embezzling $20.00 worth of paper from your company.

Due to the hybrid nature of Minnesota’s embezzlement laws, there is only one cause of action specific to embezzlement – Public Embezzlement. Therefore, an individual who is convicted of embezzlement of public funds will face charges ranging from ten years in prison and a monetary fine of up to $20,000.00.

If someone is suspected of embezzling private funds, the prosecution will bring forth charges under the general crimes of theft or larceny. Like embezzlement, being convicted of theft or larceny results in severe penalties, ranging from prison time to hefty fines. Specifically, if you are found guilty of theft or larceny, you may face up to twenty years in prison and a maximum of $100,000.00 in fines.

It is important to note that the penalties associated with the crime of embezzlement may vary depending on multiple factors. Among these factors are the following:

  1. The severity of the offense
  2. The amount stolen or the value of the property
  3. The number of victims

Embezzlement, theft, and larceny are all complex crimes requiring the assistance of a Minnesota attorney specializing in defending those accused of embezzlement, theft, and larceny.

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What Are Defenses To Embezzlement?

Despite the severity of embezzlement, a few defenses may allow someone charged with embezzlement to prevail against the prosecution. An effective defense is one that disproves or negates an element of the embezzlement charge.

Some defenses to embezzlement are as follows:


When asserting the defense of duress, a defendant states that they were forced to commit the crime. They seriously believed that danger or harm would befall them or their family if they did not commit the offense.


Entrapment is a defense where a government official coerces an innocent person to commit a crime. When using the defense of entrapment, the attorney must prove that, but for the government official’s actions, the crime would not have occurred.

Absence of Intent

Embezzlement requires a specific intent to misappropriate money or property. This defense negates the intent to misappropriate the funds, and absent the intent, the crime of embezzlement could not have occurred.

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Statute Of Limitations For Embezzlement

A statute of limitation is a statute that provides a deadline for bringing a legal claim after the incident occurred. A prosecutor has up to five years from the date of the theft or embezzlement to bring charges. After this deadline expires, the state cannot charge the individual because the appropriate statute of limitation has run.

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Additional Resources

Minnesota Department of Public Safety – The Minnesota Department of Public Safety provides a table of offense codes that easily identify offense types and penalties associated with that particular crime.

Minnesota Penal Code Chapter 609 Section 52 – The Minnesota Statute website describes the legal definitions of theft and the penalties associated with a conviction. Specifically, Chapter 609 Section 52 gives the relevant information for a theft charge.

Minnesota Penal Code Chapter 609 Section 54 – The Minnesota Statute website describes embezzlement as defined by the Minnesota Constitution. Further, it provides the relevant penalties for embezzlement of public funds.

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Apple Valley Embezzlement Lawyer | Dakota County, MN

If you have been accused of embezzlement in Apple Valley, Minnesota, contact defense lawyer James Blumberg at James Blumberg Law today. Mr. Blumberg is a qualified Dakota County criminal defense attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of how a Minnesota criminal case operates from start to finish. He can help you obtain the best possible outcome for your case.

To receive your first initial consultation, free of charge, call (952) 431-7758 right now. James Blumberg Law accepts embezzlement cases in Rice County, Steele CountyScott CountySibley County, Dodge County, Olmsted County, and Carver County.

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