What is Embezzlement in NSW?


Embezzlement is a charge often prosecuted by the NSW police. It can be highly stressful if charged with embezzlement and affect you and your family.

If you have been charged with embezzlement, you should obtain legal advice from an expert criminal defence lawyer.

The Law - Embezzlement Meaning

There is no definition for embezzlement in NSW or Australia. However, embezzlement is an offence under section 157 of the Crimes Act 1900, which carries a maximum penalty of ten years in prison.


The legislation states;


s157 embezzlement by clerks or servants


Whosoever, being a clerk, or servant, fraudulently embezzles, either the whole or any part of, any property delivered to, or received, or taken into possession by him or her, for, or in the name, or on the account of, his or her master, or employer, shall be deemed to have stolen the same, although such property was not received into the possession of such master, or employer, otherwise than by the actual possession of such clerk, or servant, and shall be liable to imprisonment for ten years.

What must be proved for embezzlement?

To establish the charge against you, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:


  • You were a clerk or servant of the employer;
  • You had delivered to, received or took into your possession property on account of your employer; and
  • You did so fraudulently.

The element of fraud requires proof that firstly you dishonestly and by deception and created a financial advantage over the property of another or caused a financial disadvantage. Finally, your actions were intentional or reckless.


For sums under $5,000, the matter will be dealt with at the Local Court. Charges involving higher sums of money are dealt with in the District or Supreme Courts.

What is an Embezzler? Examples of Embezzlement

Embezzlement is usually known as a white-collar crime. Some examples of embezzlement are;

  • Dishonestly using a fuel card of your employer with their knowledge;
  • Stealing office supplies;
  • Fraudulent reimbursements;
  • Fake payments or overtime fraud; and
  • Siphoning of cash deposits.

What are the available defences to embezzlement?

There are a number of available defences to a charge of embezzlement. In short, they are;



  • Mohammad Khan | Criminal Defence Lawyer

    Mohammad Khan is the Principal Solicitor of Lyons Law Group. After graduating with a Bachelor of Aviation from the University of New South Wales, Mohammad took a keen interest in the law. He began training in criminal law under the tutelage of Australia’s leading criminal lawyer Adam Houda and studied law at the University of Sydney.