Nonprofit Worker Arrested for Embezzling from Disabled Clients in Santa Rosa (CA Penal Code 503)

66-year-old Santa Rosa man (name withheld in order to protect the privacy of the accused) has recently been arrested for having stolen at least $400,000 from disabled clients of the nonprofit for which he worked.  It seems that he would simply take checks that were meant for individuals served by the nonprofit organization and deposit them into his own accounts.  He has been charged with embezzlement.

Embezzlement could be considered a kind of property theft as it is a white collar crime wherein which an employee steals from either clients or from their employers. (CA Penal Code 503). Specifically, if you have been charged with embezzlement, it means that you have absconded with monies or property that was entrusted to you.  The fact that the property was entrusted to you directly is the key point.  If property or monies have not directly been entrusted to you, then you may be charged with theft under a different section of California law.

Depending on the value of the property or amount of monies you have stolen matters as to how it will be prosecuted.  If the value is below $950, then you will likely be charged with petty theft (CA Penal Code 488), whereas you may be charged with grand theft (CA Penal Code 487) if the value of the stolen property is over $950.  Furthermore, prosecutors must be able to prove that the property or monies you stole were entrusted to you. This means that they must also prove that you had some kind of relationship with the alleged victim that involved their putting trust in you.

This particular crime is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or as a felony.  Conviction on felony embezzlement charges may mean up to 3 years in state prison and a fine of $10,000; conviction on this charge as a misdemeanor means that you may face 1 year in county jail and a $1,000 fine.