Some Virginia residents may think that embezzlement is the kind of crime which happens only at large, high-profile companies. However, someone might commit this offense at a company of any size. It is important to understand what this offense looks like and the different forms it might take.  

FindLaw says that embezzlement occurs when people take money or other assets from a company and use them for their own benefit. In some situations, someone might take a bit of money from the petty cash once in a while. In other situations, someone might alter a company’s records to take larger sums of money. While most people may associate money with embezzlement, a person might also embezzle company property. This means someone might take computers or other pieces of technology.

While some people might think that embezzlement is simply another form of theft, this offense is a bit more nuanced. If a customer takes money or assets from a store, this is not usually considered embezzlement. Instead, someone commits this offense if he or she works for the company and abuses the business owner’s trust to take money or company property.

The National Association of Credit Management says that embezzlement usually comes in different forms. When people steal from a company, they typically commit billing or payroll fraud. This means they tamper with these financial systems so that a business owner does not realize he or she is paying fraudulent vendors or paying out too much money to an employee. Other common kinds of embezzlement involve stealing information from credit cards, taking cash from registers and forging company checks. One study found that when embezzlement occurs, it is generally not a one-time event. Instead, people who embezzle money from a company usually perform this theft for a year or more.