What happens if I’m caught stealing money at work?

Not only can you lose your Pennsylvania job if caught taking money, but you may also face jail time and fines. Embezzlement is as simple as taking money out of the cash register or as complex as misappropriating company funds.

The severity of these consequences often depends on how much you stole.

Range of potential penalties

FindLaw states that the court may charge you with theft for embezzling money. The court can charge you with a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount of money taken. You may also face additional penalties and fines for subsequent charges.

If you stole property valued at less than $2,000, the court will likely charge you with a misdemeanor. Over $2,000 and you may face a third-degree felony charge. A first-degree misdemeanor can cost you up to five years in jail, while a third-degree felony can come with a seven-year sentence.

Intent to harm proof

The prosecutor must prove that you intended to permanently deprive their client. They must show how you violated the agreements made with their client. These agreements often show how you are to specifically use the property. Anything beyond them that deprives their client can show an intent to harm.

For agreed-upon acts and services, the prosecutor must show that you did not deliver as promised. This includes keeping the property as your own after agreeing to do something else. An example is retaining money in violation of your fiduciary duty to the client.

Unintentional or mistaken conduct is a common defense against these types of charges. The defense can change depending on the type of property stolen if something other than money or the timeline of the suspected embezzlement.