Breach Of Trust
( Originally Published 1918 )
Breach of trust is the wilful misappropriaton of personal property by one who has been intrusted with its possession in confidence.
As Distinguished from Larceny.—The cases where personal property is taken by a person to whom it has been intrusted, and who converts it to his own use, present very nice discriminations between ordinary breaches of trust and outright larceny.
If a person has property in goods, and a right to the possession of them, he cannot, unless in very exceptional cases, commit the crime of larceny in taking them.
The courts generally lean toward construing the offense to be larceny; and not merely a breach of trust, where the party gains possession by some false pretense, with the original intent to steal.
That is to say, a bailee who fraudulently converts the property intrusted to him to his own use or benefit or profit, is likely to be held guilty not simply of a breach of trust, which is only a trespass, but of larceny, or embezzlement, which are crimes.