Embezzlement vs Fraud

Embezzlement and fraud are two ideas crimes which are very closely related. In fact, fraudulent intent is a key element in many embezzlement cases. Many individuals believe that fraud and embezzlement really denote the same thing. However, they are not actually the same thing. Fraud occurs when an individual intentionally misleads or cheats someone else (usually for monetary gain). On the other hand, embezzlement is when an individual is entrusted with a certain asset and intentionally withholds that asset and takes it for him/herself.

Both fraud and embezzlement can be a series of different specific crimes. There are many different types of embezzlement and many different types of fraud. However, in just about all cases both crimes are very serious and require your immediate attention.


Fraud is generally a civil crime, however, in some cases it can be considered more serious. Typically in cases of fraud, an individual defrauds another individual without their knowledge. Eventually, the other individual finds out that he has been defrauded and files a lawsuit. If enough evidence is found to show that the first individual was intentionally committing a fraudulent act, then that person may face very serious consequences. Not all cases of fraud are the same, but generally they follow this pattern. Just as with embezzlement, most fraud cases require that the fraud was committed intentionally.

In many cases, because embezzlement typically happens through a series of fraudulent actions, claimants can file a fraud case and an embezzlement case separately. This means you may be found guilty of one but not the other, or guilty of both.


This generally occurs more systematically than fraud and typically happens when someone is in a position of trust (such as a banker or financial advisor). Generally, embezzlement occurs in small increments over time. For example, a bank teller who deposits small amounts of funds into her own account gradually. Embezzlement may be a much more serious crime than fraud because it can involve multiple fraudulent acts and can even rise to the level of a felony and a federal crime. Punishments depend on what was embezzled and its total value.

If you are being charged with state or federal embezzlement, contact embezzlement attorney David M. Dudley right away. David has decades of experience defending clients around the country and has worked on numerous cases involving state and federal embezzlement. Call David at 800-805-6167 today for a free case evaluation.