Embezzlement in Oklahoma – Law & Punishments

Definition of Embezzlement in Oklahoma

arrested for embezzlement oklahoma attorneyEmbezzlement is the fraudulent appropriation of property of any person or legal entity, legally obtained, to any use or purpose not intended or authorized by its owner, or the secretion of the property with the fraudulent intent to appropriate it to such use or purpose where:

  • the property was obtained by being entrusted to that person for a specific purpose, use, or disposition and shall include, but not be limited to, any funds “held in trust” for any purpose;
  • the property was obtained by virtue of a power of attorney being granted for the sale or transfer of the property;
  • the property is possessed or controlled for the use of another person;
  • the property is to be used for a public or benevolent purpose;
  • any person diverts any money appropriated by law from the purpose and object of the appropriation;
  • any person fails or refuses to pay over to the state, or appropriate authority, any tax or other monies collected in accordance with state law, and who appropriates the tax or monies to the use of that person, or to the use of any other person not entitled to the tax or monies;
  • the property is possessed for the purpose of transportation, without regard to whether packages containing the property have been broken;
  • any person removes crops from any leased or rented premises with the intent to deprive the owner or landlord interested in the land of any of the rent due from that land, or who fraudulently appropriates the rent to that person or any other person; or
  • the property is possessed or controlled by virtue of a lease or rental agreement, and the property is willfully or intentionally not returned within ten days after the expiration of the agreement.

Embezzlement does not require a distinct act of taking, but only a fraudulent appropriation, conversion, or use of property.

Punishment For An Embezzlement Conviction

The punishment for embezzlement in Oklahoma is as follows:

Property ValueType of CrimeJail/PrisonFine
< $1,000MisdemeanorUp to 1 yr jail or nights/weekends≤ $1,000
≥ $1,000 &
< $2,500
FelonyUp to 2 yrs prison or 1 yr jail≤ $5,000
≥ $2,500 &
< $15,000
FelonyUp to 5 yrs prison or 1 yr jail≤ $5,000
≥ $15,000FelonyUp to 8 yrs prison≤ $10,000

A series of offenses may be aggregated into one offense when they are the result of the formulation of a plan, scheme, or the setting up of a mechanism which, when put into operation, results in the taking or diversion of money or property on a recurring basis. When all acts result from a continuing course of conduct, they may be aggregated into one crime. Acts forming an integral part of the first taking that facilitate subsequent takings, or acts taken in preparation of several takings that facilitate subsequent takings, are relevant to determine the party’s intent to commit a continuing crime.

Any executor, administrator, trustee, beneficiary, or other person benefiting from, acting in a fiduciary capacity for, or otherwise administering a probate, intestate, or trust estate, whether the trust is inter vivos or testamentary, upon conviction of embezzlement from the estate may not receive any portion, share, gift, or otherwise benefit from the estate.

Embezzlement by a Public Official

It’s a felony for any county or state officer, deputy, or employee of such officer, to divert any money appropriated by law from the purpose and object of the appropriation.

The range of punishment in the Department of Corrections is 1-10 years. The maximum fine is three times the amount of money embezzled. Restitution must be paid.

The fine will operate as a judgment lien at law on all estate of the party so convicted and sentenced, and will be enforced by execution or other process for the use of the person whose money or other funds or property were embezzled. In all cases the fine, so operating as a judgment lien, will be released or entered as satisfied only by the person in interest.

Source: 21 O.S. § 1451

Current as of March 29, 2020. Laws are subject to change at any time! Go to the sources cited above for the most up-to-date law.

Charged with embezzlement in Oklahoma? Call Oklahoma embezzlement attorney Frank Urbanic in OKC for a free case consultation.

Don’t panic! Call Urbanic.® 405-633-3420