What Is Embezzlement In Oklahoma?

EmbezzlementEmbezzlement in Oklahoma is defined in 21 O.S. § 1451. It 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.

Punishment For An Embezzlement Conviction

This crime is a misdemeanor if the value of the property embezzled is less than $1,000. The maximum fine is $1,000. The maximum punishment in the county jail is one year.

This crime is a felony if the value of the property embezzled is $1,000 or more. If the value of the property is greater than or equal $1,000 but less than $25,000, the maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is five years. The maximum fine is $5,000. Restitution must be paid.

If the value of the property embezzled is $25,000 or more, the maximum punishment in the Department of Corrections is ten years, and the maximum fine is $10,000. Restitution must be paid.

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. Voters approved a change to this statute on November 8, 2017 by passing State Question 780. The change went into effect on July 1, 2017.

SOURCE: 21 O.S. § 1451

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