In the field of law there are a large number of words that have a meaning of great importance in the area. One of them is known as embezzlement , which is used to name a crime that takes place at the moment in which public money is misused . It is one of the most important parts of what is known today as corruption .

What is embezzlement?

The word embezzlement refers to a fraud or a type of fraud that is committed against all the public assets of a State , it is the theft that is made improperly of the resources that belong to it.

  • Definition of embezzlement
  • When embezzlement occurs
  • Types
  • Elements
  • Legislation by country
  • Pain
  • Prescription
  • Examples of embezzlement

Definition of embezzlement

Embezzlement is a type of crime in which a person who is in charge of public property belonging to the State of a nation, commits a fraud or fraud by improperly stealing these resources. It is a crime that is part of corruption and is generally committed by an individual who has a position within a nation and due to the trust that was granted to him, takes advantage of being able to steal money or property that is supposed they should be used solely for the common good.


It is important to mention that when a person commits this type of crime, they are defrauding the trust that the State has granted them, since it was the same authorities that gave them a specific function and that also gave them the possibility of having access to all resources. and public funds . Embezzlement is not only based on the misuse of money , it can also be applied to those officials who misuse things or objects that should be used solely to achieve the common good .

When embezzlement occurs

Peculation occurs when given embezzlement of the money of the State by one of the civil servants who work within it. When an individual uses part of the public money or when he uses goods that are only intended to be used by the people, the crime of embezzlement is committed. It happens when this person abuses the relationship of trust that has been established between him and the State so that he handles the money properly.


There are several types of embezzlement, among which we find the following:

  • Embezzlement by appreciation : occurs when a public servant appropriates for his own benefit or that of third parties the property of the State or institutions of which he is a part or of the parafiscal funds or private assets.
  • It embezzlement by use : occurs when the public servant uses such improper or allows that someone else makes use of the property of the state or property of institutions or companies which form part even of some assets of individuals whom you they have given, out of trust, custody of the institution.
  • Embezzlement culpable : it happens when the public servant has been given the trust on property of the State, enterprises or institutions and caused the money is misplaced , lost or that the goods that are part of these institutions have suffered from some kind of damage .
  • Embezzlement by different official application : it occurs when the public official gives the property of the State or an institution a different use than the one originally predestined or when he commits amounts of money greater than those that have already been established by the budget or when use these monies to the detriment of social investment , salaries or benefits .


There are several elements that must be present before sentencing a crime of embezzlement. These items are mentioned below:

  • Active subject : must always be a public official or in the exercise of the function by popular election or because he is appointed by a competent authority.
  • Typical action : it is the action of subtracting or removing a group or an asset.
  • Patrimonial prejudice: the action must have a patrimonial prejudice on the considerations made with respect to the legal good.

Legislation by country


In the country, peculation is regulated by the Code Civil Penal of Spain in Title XIX in which everything is related to public administration . The law is in charge of regulating all types of embezzlement and embezzlement is punishable by imprisonment of between three to six years in addition to being disqualified for six or ten years.


In the country it is regulated by means of article 223 of the Federal Penal Code, which establishes the definition of embezzlement as well as the penalties and sentences for the crime.


In the country, it has been established by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice that embezzlement is a mono-subjective criminal offense. The penalties and definitions are found in the country’s penal code in articles 397, 398, 399 and 400.


In Argentina it is established as a crime against the Public Administration and that occurs when a public official either by inoperation , negligence or recklessness of occasion to a person to commit the crime of embezzlement. This is established in the Penal Code , in law 11,179.


The penalties that are established against the crime of embezzlement can vary depending on the country and the penalty system that each of these has. It is common to find the following types of penalties:

  • For embezzlement by appropriation , penalties ranging from six years to fifteen years can be given in addition to a certain amount of legal minimum wages that are in force at the time of the sentence, in addition, the functions and their rights are disqualified .
  • In the case of embezzlement by use , the penalty that is established can vary from one year to four years in prison, in addition to the disqualification of their rights and all their public functions.
  • When a given embezzlement by applying different official penalties may vary from between one and three years in prison in addition including fines established with respect to the wages of law and disqualification from office for a period of time or permanently.
  • When guilty embezzlement occurs, the official can face a prison sentence which can vary between one and three years , a fine and also disqualification from exercising the position


In the case of the crime of embezzlement, its prescription may vary from one country to another, however, the limit is set at ten years . In the event of the death of the individual who has committed the crime, the embezzlement will prescribe immediately.

Examples of embezzlement

Some examples of embezzlement are mentioned below:

  • When a public official is in charge of a vehicle to move around in order to fulfill his job function but nevertheless uses the vehicle to carry out other types of activities.
  • When a person decides to promote or slander another person, company or institution in exchange for a sum of money that comes from public funds.
  • When public servants misuse public resources with the aim of being able to promote the political image of a certain individual or also with the aim of being able to defame another.

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