Penal Code 487 grand theft in California can be accomplished in four ways. There’s grand theft by larceny, trick and false pretense. There’s also grand theft by embezzlement.
In a recent case out of Santa Barbara, a civilian member of the police department has been accused of grand theft by embezzlement for allegedly diverting over $100,000 in parking ticket revenues.
Grand theft by embezzlement occurs when someone unlawfully takes property entrusted to that person, so long as the property is valued above $950. Because embezzlement involves a violation of trust, we often see it in an employment context.
To convict someone of violating Penal Code 487 grand theft in California, by way of embezzlement, the prosecutor must prove that the defendant intended to steal the property and that a relationship of trust existed between the defendant and victim. If the alleged embezzlement took place on more than one occasion, the prosecutor can charge the defendant with multiple counts of grand theft (although the defense can argue that the conduct was part of a single “plan.”)
Felony grand theft is punishable by up to three years in state prison. If the amount stolen exceeds $65,000, an additional year can be added to that sentence.