Theft by an Employee

Many theft cases occur in the workplace where an employee is caught stealing from the employer. Sometimes the cases involve a new employee stealing from the cash register. Other cases involve a long-term trusted employee who has been stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from the company over a long period of time through a complicated scheme to defraud the employer.

Theft crimes in the workplace can be charged as either petty theft or grand theft, depending the value of the property stolen. Because the employee often comes into possession of the property legally for the benefit of the employer before stealing the property, this type of theft crime is often proven under an embezzlement theory.

The difference between employment theft cases by embezzlement and other forms of theft is the requirement that the property was entrusted to the accused by the rightful owner. In an employment situation, the employer will entrust the employee to possess or access the property temporarily for the benefit of the employer.

Under California Penal Code Section 484, if a person fraudulently appropriates property which has been entrusted to him or her, he or she can be charged with theft by embezzlement. To prove embezzlement, all of the following elements must be proven:

  • An owner of property (or the owner’s agent) entrusted the property to the employee
  • The owner or agent did so because the owner trusted the employee
  • The employee fraudulently converted or used that property for his or her own benefit, and
  • When the employee converted or used the property, the employee did so with the intention to deprive the employer or agent of its use

The statute defines the term “agent” as a person who represents someone else in dealing with other people, corporations, or entities. In many of these cases, an employer’s goal is to receive restitution and make sure justice is served and to set an example for other employees.

Attorney for Theft by an Employee or Agent in San Francisco, CA

If you need an attorney in San Francisco, CA, for an allegation that you stole from your employer, then contact the attorneys at Ticket Crushers. We represent clients throughout the City and County of San Francisco, and the surrounding areas in Northern California.

Our offices are located on Geary Boulevard near Park Presidio in San Francisco, CA. We represent clients the Hall of Justice Building located at 850 Bryant Street, at all stages of employee theft cases, including arraignments, preliminary hearings, motion hearings, probation violation hearings, and trials.

One Theft or Multiple Thefts by an Employee or Agent under § 487(b)(3)

Under the California Penal Code Section 487(b)(3), a theft by an employee or agent can involve more than one theft. In these cases, the offense can either be charged as multiple petty thefts or a single grand theft. In order for the prosecutor to prove a grand theft under this theory, the prosecutor must prove the following elements beyond all reasonable doubt:

  • The defendant was an employee or agent of a named employer or principal
  • The defendant committed theft of property or services from the employer or principal
  • The combined value of the property or services that the defendant obtained during a period of 12 consecutive months was $950 or more

Under Penal Code § 487(b)(3), the prosecutor can aggregate a series of petty thefts into a grand theft, without having to prove a single intent or scheme.

A conviction under § 487(b)(3) does not require proof of a single intent or scheme as an element. Depending on the circumstances, however, a defendant may assert that grand thefts committed against his or her employer over a period greater than 12 consecutive months should be combined into a single grand theft in the absence of evidence of separate intents or plans.

The standard jury instructions for Theft: By Employee or Agent under Penal Code § 487(b)(3) can be found in the Judicial Council of California Criminal Jury Instruction 1803.

Finding an Attorney for Theft Against an Employer Case

If you are accused of stealing from your employer, then do not make any statements until after you have spoken to an experienced criminal defense attorney. The attorneys at Ticket Crushers represent clients accused of employee theft throughout the City and County of San Francisco, and the surrounding areas of Northern California.

After an accusation that you stole from your employer, act quickly to preserve your rights. Let us put our experience to work for you. Call an experienced attorney for theft crimes in San Francisco today at 1 (866) 842-5384.