Being charged with employee theft is scary – it means you could be facing a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of what you allegedly stole. Employee theft is commonly called embezzlement. Here’s what you need to know if you’ve been charged with employee theft in Wisconsin.
Employee Theft Basics
Someone who has possession or custody of money, or similar security, is entrusted with using it properly. However, if that person “intentionally uses, transfers, conceals, or retains possession of such money, security, instrument, paper or writing without the owner’s consent, contrary to his or her authority, and with intent to convert to his or her own use or to the use of any other person except the owner,” it’s a crime.
You can be charged with and convicted of embezzlement if you:
- Possessed money that belonged to someone else because of your employment
- Intentionally used the money without the owner’s consent, and contrary to your authority
- Knew that you didn’t have the owner’s consent to use the money and that it was contrary to your authority
- Intended to use the money for yourself or another person who wasn’t the money’s owner
When the law says contrary to your authority, it’s making a provision for people whose bosses say things like, “Take money from the safe and buy office supplies,” as well as people who can use money that doesn’t belong to them at their own discretion (such as when the company makes a credit card available for taking clients out to lunch or paying for minor office expenses). If you have the authority to use the money as part of your work, you’re not embezzling.
When is Employee Theft a Misdemeanor, and When is it a Felony?
Employee theft is a Class A misdemeanor when the value of the property is less than $2,500. If the value is:
- $2,500 to $5,000, it’s a Class I felony
- $5,000 to $10,000, it’s a Class H felony
- Over $10,000, it’s a Class G felony
Have You Been Accused of Employee Theft?
If you’ve been accused of employee theft, you may need to talk to an embezzlement attorney in Milwaukee right away. Call us at 414-383-6700 to set up your free consultation. We’ll answer your questions and explain what you’re facing, and if we’re going to work together, we’ll start developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.