When you think of "embezzlement", images of scandals involving the theft of billions of dollars from corporations often come to mind. It seems like almost daily that another significant embezzlement case makes its way onto the public stage. However, embezzlement doesn'talways happen on such a grand scale; the broad nature of the crime allows for infinite ways for individuals to commit this offense.
Embezzlement is a property crime that involves a breach of trust where the offender has a legitimate reason to have possession of the money or other property, but doesn't have legal ownership of it. One of the most common examples involves employee theft. This can occur in many forms, such as a theft which involves the employee pocketing money from the cash registry and covering up the discrepancies between what the computer shows and what the drawer shows, or more complex schemes including falsifying overtime and payroll records, fraudulent billing, or Ponzi schemes.
State laws differ as to how they treat embezzlement. Like many states, Ohio's embezzlement laws reside within its theft laws. The charge and penalty of the crime depends on several factors including: the value of the assets that were stolen, the type of property that was stolen, and the defendant's criminal history. Additionally, the type of victim also matters in terms of punishment: If the victim is a member of a protected class (elderly, disabled, or active military, or spouse of active military), then the penalty increases.
Ohio Embezzlement Laws at a Glance
The chart below provides a summary of laws related to Ohio's embezzlement laws, including links to important code sections.
Penalties and Sentencing
The charges and the penalties depend on the amount of money or property involved in the theft.
- Less than $1000: misdemeanor, punishable by 180 days in jail and/or fine of up to $1000
- $1000 or more, less than $7,500: fifth degree felony, punishable by 6 months - 1 year in jail and/or fines up to $2,000
- $7,500 or more, less than $150,000:, fourth degree felony, punishable by 6 months- 18 months in prison and/or fines up to $5,000
- $150,000 or more, less than $750,000: third degree felony, punishable by at least 9 months in jail, up to 36 months in prison, and/or fines up to $10,000.
- Generally a theft from a person in a protected class (elderly, disabled, active military) is a felony in the fifth degree, but the charges elevate as the value of the property increases.
- Lack of intent
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.
Ohio Embezzlement Laws: Related Resources
Embezzlement Questions? Contact an Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney
Violating Ohio's embezzlement laws can have a serious impact on your livelihood and your freedom due to possible incarceration and hefty fines. If you've been charged with embezzlement, then you should consider reaching out to an experienced attorney who understands how to mount a solid defense. Contact an Ohio attorney in your area to get started today.