Embezzlement is the unlawful appropriation of the property of another by one who has lawful possession of the property.
Under embezzlement statutes, property may take several forms, including securities, stocks and loans. Because of the large number of financial accounts that may be handled by one computer, and, in turn, by one computer programmer, embezzlement presents the computer criminal with access to an almost unlimited amount of funds plus a means to perpetrate the crime, as well as the possible means to cover his tracks.
Embezzlement statutes were designed originally to be used in a business environment that kept paper records. Although computer stored data comes from and can be returned to paper records, the information is primarily used in its electronic form. It is this particular characteristic of computerized information that permits the embezzler to carry out his crime with a significant chance to avoid detection.
- "Overview" section: Computer Crime: Legislative Resource Manual, at 5.