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Minnesota Embezzlement Law and Penalties

The offense of embezzlement is a financial crime that involves a misuse of another person's property. Unlike a general theft or larceny offense where the wrongdoing is due to the wrongful possession of another's property, embezzlement occurs when an individual's position, job, or role gives them lawful possession of the property. However, the embezzler breaches the trust when they take the property for their own personal gain.

A common example of embezzlement is employee theft. This activity ranges from cashiers taking a small amount of cash from the register to executives stealing millions from corporations.

Beyond the general definition, embezzlement is treated differently by various jurisdictions. Some states don't distinguish between the two and lump embezzlement with the general theft laws; others criminalize embezzlement specifically. In Minnesota, it's a bit of a hybrid because the state does address embezzlement, but only in terms of public funds.

Minnesota's embezzlement laws also differ when it comes to their location. Unlike most criminal offenses which are found in the statutes, embezzlement is detailed in Minnesota's constitution.

Minnesota Embezzlement Laws at a Glance

The best way to know the letter of the law is by working with an attorney. However, a legal novice can understand the essence of the law by reading an easy-to-understand guide written in simple language. The following chart can help you get a handle on Minnesota's embezzlement laws, including penalties.

Relevant Law

Minnesota Constitution Art. XI: Section 13

Minnesota Statutes: Section 609.54


Elements of the Crime


Anyone who is in the position of safeguarding state funds must:

  • Provide security for the funds and to keep an accurate entry of each sum received and of each payment and transfer; and
  • Not convert the funds for their own use in any manner including loans (with or without interest), deposits in their own name or deposits other than in the name of the state of Minnesota.

A failure to comply with the conditions is presumptive proof that the officer or person committed embezzlement of public funds (a felony).

Possible Penalties and Sentencing

If the value of the funds is $2,500 or less:

  • Punishable by up to 5 years imprisonment and/or fines up to $10,000.

If the value of the funds is more than $2,500:

  • Punishable by up to10 years and/or fines up to $20,000.

Related Offenses

Minnesota Statutes:

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.

Minnesota Embezzlement Laws and Penalties: Related Resources

Talk to a Minnesota Defense Attorney about Embezzlement

A conviction for embezzlement can result in penalties like hefty fines or incarceration and can make it difficult to secure employment or housing. If you're accused of this crime in Minnesota, don't face charges without consulting with an experienced attorney. A criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case and explore whether your charges can be dismissed.

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