Embezzlement in Virginia: Felony & Misdemeanor Charges, Penalties & Defenses

What is the crime of Embezzlement under Virginia Law?

Embezzlement under Virginia law can be simply defined as a wrongful taking of money or valuable property, that took place while the offender was entrusted with someone else’s property. This improper taking does not need to benefit the accused, it can benefit some other person. An employee-employer relationship is the most common form of trust that is subject of an embezzlement case.

Misdemeanor Embezzlement v. Felony Embezzlement

Misdemeanor embezzlement is charged when the accused has embezzled less than $200 in value, and the felony is charged when the value of the embezzled money or property is more than $200.

On a Virginia Misdemeanor embezzlement, the accused faces up to one year in jail and up to a $2500 fine after a Class 1 misdemeanor conviction. Felony embezzlement is punished by up to 20 years in prison after a conviction. The accused will also be ordered to pay restitution for the value taken.

Penalty Table for Embezzlement Charges in Virginia

Description of OffenseClassification of CrimeMaximum Jail SentenceMaximum FineRestitution?
Embezzlement < $200.00Class 1 Misdemeanor12 months$2,500.00 FineRestitution
Embezzlement > $200.00Class U Felony20 Years$2,500.00 FineRestitution

§ 18.2-111. Embezzlement deemed larceny; indictment.

If any person wrongfully and fraudulently use, dispose of, conceal or embezzle any money, bill, note, check, order, draft, bond, receipt, bill of lading or any other personal property, tangible or intangible, which he shall have received for another or for his employer, principal or bailor, or by virtue of his office, trust, or employment, or which shall have been entrusted or delivered to him by another or by any court, corporation or company, he shall be guilty of embezzlement. Proof of embezzlement shall be sufficient to sustain the charge of larceny. Any person convicted hereunder shall be deemed guilty of larceny and may be indicted as for larceny and upon conviction shall be punished as provided in § 18.2-95 or § 18.2-96.


Embezzlement Defense Attorney Consultation Call 888-886-4127

This article is written by Embezzlement defense attorney Marina Medvin, who is located in Alexandria, Virginia, and Fairfax, Virginia. She represents individuals charged with these crimes in Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Vienna, or Falls Church. Please call for a consultation request.


Embezzlement is a type of larceny in Virginia. So what is larceny?

Larceny is simply the crime of theft. Virginia courts define larceny as the wrongful or fraudulent taking of things of value, belonging to another, without that person or business’ consent, and with the intention to permanently deprive that person or business of the value of the items taken. Grand Larceny is a felony. Petit Larceny is a misdemeanor. They are divided by the value of the items stolen.

Defenses

Virginia’s courts have held that the mere failure to return property or account for funds, while evidence of a conversion, does not necessarily constitute embezzlement. However, failure to perform an absolute duty to return the property or refusal to account or pay over on demand constitutes embezzlement, or is, at least, evidence from which a fraudulent conversion may be inferred. To constitute embezzlement, fraudulent intent to deprive the owner of his property must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof of intent is found in the words or conduct of the accused. Intent is a state of mind that may be proved by an accused’s acts or by his statements and that may be shown by circumstantial evidence.

Virginia Embezzlement Laws

§ 18.2-111. Embezzlement deemed larceny; indictment.

If any person wrongfully and fraudulently use, dispose of, conceal or embezzle any money, bill, note, check, order, draft, bond, receipt, bill of lading or any other personal property, tangible or intangible, which he shall have received for another or for his employer, principal or bailor, or by virtue of his office, trust, or employment, or which shall have been entrusted or delivered to him by another or by any court, corporation or company, he shall be guilty of embezzlement. Proof of embezzlement shall be sufficient to sustain the charge of larceny. Any person convicted hereunder shall be deemed guilty of larceny and may be indicted as for larceny and upon conviction shall be punished as provided in § 18.2-95 or § 18.2-96.

§ 18.2-96. Petit larceny defined; how punished.

Any person who: 1. Commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of less than $5, or 2. Commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of less than $200, except as provided in subdivision (iii) of § 18.2-95, shall be deemed guilty of petit larceny, which shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

§ 18.2-95. Grand larceny defined; how punished.

Any person who (i) commits larceny from the person of another of money or other thing of value of $5 or more, (ii) commits simple larceny not from the person of another of goods and chattels of the value of $200 or more, or (iii) commits simple larceny not from the person of another of any firearm, regardless of the firearm’s value, shall be guilty of grand larceny, punishable by imprisonment in a state correctional facility for not less than one nor more than twenty years or, in the discretion of the jury or court trying the case without a jury, be confined in jail for a period not exceeding twelve months or fined not more than $2,500, either or both.

§ 18.2-152.8. Property capable of embezzlement.

For purposes of §§ 18.2-95, 18.2-96, 18.2-108, and 18.2-111, personal property subject to embezzlement, larceny, or receiving stolen goods shall include: 1. Computers and computer networks; 2. Financial instruments, computer data, computer programs, computer software and all other personal property regardless of whether they are: a. Tangible or intangible; b. In a format readable by humans or by a computer; c. In transit between computers or within a computer network or between any devices which comprise a computer; or d. Located on any paper or in any device on which it is stored by a computer or by a human; and 3. Computer services.

§ 19.2-223. Charging several acts of embezzlement; description of money.

In a prosecution against a person accused of embezzling or fraudulently converting to his own use bullion, money, bank notes or other security for money or items of personal property subject to larceny it shall be lawful in the same indictment or accusation to charge and thereon to proceed against the accused for any number of distinct acts of such embezzlements or fraudulent conversions which may have been committed by him within six months from the first to the last of the acts charged in the indictment; and it shall be sufficient to allege the embezzlement or fraudulent conversion to be of money without specifying any particular money, gold, silver, note or security. Such allegation, so far as it regards the description of the property, shall be sustained if the accused be proved to have embezzled any bullion, money, bank note or other security for money or items of personal property subject to larceny although the particular species be not proved. And in a prosecution for the larceny of United States currency or for obtaining United States currency by a false pretense or token, or for receiving United States currency knowing the same to have been stolen, it shall be sufficient if the accused be proved guilty of the larceny of national bank notes or United States treasury notes, certificates for either gold or silver coin, fractional coin, currency, or any other form of money issued by the United States government, or of obtaining the same by false pretense or token, or of receiving the same knowing it to have been stolen although the particular species be not proved.

§19.2-245. Offenses committed without and made punishable within Commonwealth; embezzlement or larceny committed within Commonwealth; where prosecuted.

Prosecution for offenses committed wholly or in part without and made punishable within this Commonwealth may be in any county or city in which the offender is found or to which he is sent by any judge or court; and if any person shall commit larceny or embezzlement beyond the jurisdiction of this Commonwealth and bring the stolen property into the same he shall be liable to prosecution and punishment for larceny or embezzlement in any county or city into which he shall have taken the property as if the same had been wholly committed therein; and if any person shall commit larceny or embezzlement within this Commonwealth and take the stolen property into any county or city other than the county or city within which the same was committed he shall be liable to prosecution and punishment for such larceny or embezzlement in any such county or city into which he shall have taken the property as if the same had been wholly committed therein; provided, that if any person shall commit embezzlement within this Commonwealth he shall be liable as aforesaid or to prosecution and punishment for his offense in the county or city in which he was legally obligated to deliver the embezzled funds or property.

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