Ohio Embezzlement Laws

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Embezzlement is a kind of property theft.  It occurs when a defendant, who was entrusted to manage or monitor someone else’s money or property, steals all or part of that money or property  for the defendant’s personal gain. The key is that the defendant had legal access to another’s money or property, but not legal ownership of it.  Taking the money or property for the defendant’s own gain is stealing; when combined with the fact that this stealing was also a violation of a special position of trust, you have the unique crime of embezzlement.

Embezzlement can occur in a variety of circumstances. For example, a bank teller has legal access to client money, and is trusted to handle but not take that money. Officers and employees of companies can also embezzle funds belonging to the company, as can family members caring for a relative, professionals like lawyers or board members who handle client or investor money, or anyone in a position of trust with regard to someone else’s money or property.

For more information about embezzlement, see Embezzlement: Penalties and Sentences.

How is Embezzlement Punished in Ohio?

In Ohio, embezzlement is punished according to the value of the money or property stolen. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(2).)

  • Money or property worth less than $1,000. Penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to 180 days in jail, or both.
  • $1,000 or more, but less than $7,500. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, at least six months (and up to one year) in jail, or both.
  • $7,500 or more, but less than $150,000. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, at least six months in jail (and up to 18 months in prison), or both.
  • $150,000 or more, but less than $750,000. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least nine months in jail (and up to 36 months in prison), or both.
  • $750,000 or more, but less than $1,500,000. Penalties include a fine of up to $15,000, at least two (up to eight) years in prison, or both.
  • $1,500,000 or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $20,000, at least three (and up to 11) years in prison, or both.

Embezzling Specific Kinds of Property

The following kinds of property have their own penalties associated with them in Ohio, regardless of the value or amount stolen.

  • Firearms or dangerous ordinances. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least nine months in jail (and up to 36 months in prison), or both. However, if stolen from a federally-licensed firearms dealer, penalties increase to a fine of up to $20,000, at least three (and up to 11) years in prison, or both. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(4).)
  • Motor vehicles. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, at least six months in jail (and up to 18 months in prison), or both. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(5).)
  • Dangerous drugs. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, at least six months in jail (and up to 18 months in prison), or both. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(6).)
  • Police dog or horse, or assistance dog. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least nine months in jail (and up to 36 months in prison), or both. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(7).)
  • Anhydrous ammonia. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least nine months in jail (and up to 36 months in prison), or both. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(8).)

Embezzlement from Vulnerable Adults

In Ohio, embezzlement from an adult aged 65 years or older, or an adult 18 or older with a physical or mental disability, incurs increased penalties. (Ohio Rev.  Code Ann. § 2913.02(B)(3).)

  • Money or property worth less than $1,000. Penalties include a fine of up to $2,000, at least six months (and up to one year) in jail, or both.
  • $1,000 or more, but less than $7,500. Penalties include a fine of up to $5,000, at least six months in jail (and up to 18 months in prison), or both.
  • $7,500 or more, but less than $37,500. Penalties include a fine of up to $10,000, at least nine months in jail (and up to 36 months in prison), or both.
  • $37,500 or more, but less than $150,000. Penalties include a fine of up to $15,000, at least two (up to eight) years in prison, or both.
  • $150,000 or more. Penalties include a fine of up to $20,000, at least three (and up to 11) years in prison, or both.

An Important Note on Local Legal Representation

If you have been charged with a property theft or embezzlement-related offense, consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. While the penalties and consequences of property theft charges are governed by statutory law, only a local criminal defense attorney can tell you how strong the case against you appears to be, and how cases like yours tend to be handled by prosecutors and judges in your courthouse. An experienced lawyer can also advise you as to possible alternatives to criminal punishment, such as paying back the money involved, along with court fees and other costs, or some other alternative that your judge might consider.

by: , Contributing Author

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