Not everyone who steals from their employer takes huge amounts of money or sneaks in after dark to steal merchandise and equipment. Some people take small amounts of money repeatedly over an extended period.

Given that California charges and penalizes theft crimes, including embezzlement, based on the amount of money or the value of the items taken, you might think that sneaking a $5 bill out of the petty cash drawer once a day isn’t a big deal. You may also feel the same way about using the company credit card to pay for a dinner out with your spouse once a week.

However, when you steal or misappropriate company assets or money, it will be the total amount, not a single act of embezzlement, that determines what charges do you face.

What is the cutoff for misdemeanor embezzlement in California?

Those accused of embezzling from their employer can face criminal charges. Once their employer or the state discover the embezzlement, they will likely look for previous incidents involving the same employee.

Then, they will total up the amount of resources taken by that employee to determine what charges the accused person will face. If the total amount of money embezzled is less than $950, the charge is a misdemeanor. If the amount exceeds $950, the result will likely be felony charges.

It’s important to remember that a small amount taken regularly can add up very quickly to felony amounts of money. Workers accused of embezzlement have the right to a defense and should talk with an attorney as soon as they suspect or know they will face criminal charges.