EMBEZZLEMENT - INTRODUCTION
The defendant is charged with felony/misdemeanor embezzlement of [Description of Property, Amount, etc.] on [Date] (owned by)/(entrusted to him/her/them by) [Name of Owner, Employer, etc.] in [Name of County] County, Oklahoma.
This introductory instruction is meant for use with the crimes set forth in Title 21, Chapter 59, entitled Embezzlement.
Under 21 O.S. Supp. 2002, § 1451(B), the crime of embezzlement is a misdemeanor if the value of the property embezzled is less than $500, and it is a felony if the value of the property embezzled is $500 or more.
Embezzlement is basically a crime against ownership, since the defendant has acquired physical possession by lawful means. If the defendant unlawfully acquired physical possession, he should have been charged with larceny, a crime against possession, not with embezzlement. The usual case involves entrustment of property by the owner to a person who embezzles the property. The language "owned by" is appropriate here. Situations arise, however, in which an agent embezzles money received from a principal but under circumstances that make it inappropriate to say that the principal is the owner of the property. See, e.g., State v. Harrison, 1989 OK CR 27, ¶ 5, 777 P.2d 1343, 1345 (embezzlement statute covered employer who withheld taxes on behalf of the State but refused to pay them over to the State); Wallen v. State, 1961 OK CR 110, ¶ 1, 367 P.2d 516, 517 (Justice of the Peace failed to pay fines he collected into the county treasury); Wiley v. State, 1960 OK CR 4, ¶¶ 8-10, 349 P.2d 30, 34 (assistant county attorney received fines from traffic violators); Waldock v. State, 42 Okl. Cr. 331, 333-34, 276 P. 509, 511 (1929) (trustee of county received proceeds of bond issue). In these latter situations, the language "entrusted to him by" is more appropriate.
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