California Penal Code § 503 defines Embezzlement as: the fraudulent appropriation of property by a person to whom it has been intrusted. The significant difference between embezzlement and other kinds of theft crimes is that embezzled property is legally possessed or accessed by the person doing the embezzling (e.g. cashier at a restaurant).

Misdemeanor Embezzlement: Generally, cases involving less $400 are punishable by a small fine, up to six months in jail, restitution and 3 years of informal probation. However, a second embezzlement offense can be charged as felony even though the amount of loss is less than $400. This is sometimes called, petty theft with a prior) and is punishable by up to a year in county jail or up to 3 years in state prison.

Felony: When a person is convicted of embezzling goods/funds $400, it is considered Grand Theft and can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. If it is charged as a felony, the punishment can be as much as 3 years in prison.