Embezzlement, the wrongful appropriation of the goods of another by a clerk, servant, or other person intrusted therewith; differing in this particular from larceny, where the taking as well as the appropriation is felonious. It was not an indictable offence at common law, and the owner of the property embezzled had no other remedy but a civil action for damages, or in some cases for the recovery of the property itself. Thus if a man hired a horse and fraudulently sold him, if the sale was made in the usual course, i. e., in market overt, and there was nothing to put the purchaser upon his guard, the sale was valid, and the owner could only recover damages against the man who had committed the fraud; though if the horse had been stolen, and afterward sold in market overt, the title did not pass, and the owner could reclaim his property. To remedy this defect, various statutes have been enacted whereby the embezzling of the goods of a master by a servant, or by a clerk or person employed, provided such servant or clerk had the custody of the goods, was made felony; so of a guest in an inn, or a lodger in furnished rooms, carrying off any of the effects which he had possession of for use, it was declared to be larceny.
Severe penalties are also enacted against embezzlement by clerks in the post office, or by brokers, bankers, attorneys, etc, of any moneys or valuable securities placed in their hands for safe keeping or any special purpose, or by persons intrusted with public moneys or property, munitions of war, etc.