Financial fraud is common in the workplace. Individuals who have access to finances and sensitive details are often culprits of fraud. These individuals can include business owners, CFOs, executives and financial managers. Under South Carolina law, allegations of larceny – the unlawful taking of property that doesn’t belong to you – carry significant consequences if convicted.

Whether you’re facing a misdemeanor or a felony charge, allegations of larceny carry a heavy burden. It’s essential to protect yourself from accidentally committing fraud by understanding what constitutes larceny.

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Businesses with fewer than 150 employees are the most vulnerable to employee fraud. According to the insurance company Hiscox, 80% of theft occurs at companies with fewer than 150 employees with half occurring at companies with 25 or fewer employees. Examples of larceny include check forgery, theft of cash, expense reimbursement, billing manipulation and payroll padding.

Criminal charges for larceny

There are two kinds of larceny in South Carolina. The difference between the two is the value of what’s stolen:

  • Petite larceny, a misdemeanor, is the theft of cash, goods or services with a value of $2,000 or less. If you are convicted of petite larceny, a judge may order up to a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail. Depending on the value of the property stolen, jail time can range from five to ten years.
  • Grand larceny, a felony, is the theft of cash, goods or services in excess of $2,000. This is a much more serious crime. The fine is left to the discretion of the judge and with potential jail from five to ten years.

The consequences of a conviction can be devastating. Steep fines and restitution can be a long-term burden. You also may lose your job or professional certifications. Not to mention, you may lose your excellent personal and professional reputations that you have worked so hard to build.

If your employer suspects you have committed fraud, these suspicions and allegations may lead to criminal charges. You may want to consider seeking professional legal guidance that strives to reduce the charges or get them dismissed.