What is the difference between larceny and embezzlement?

The major difference between larceny and embezzlement is the way in which the property changes hands. With larceny, the property is carried away; it was never in the possession of the perpetrator. With embezzlement, however, the perpetrator has lawfully possessed the property, but then has converted it into his/her own property.

The following example illustrates the difference. A man walks onto a construction site and takes a hammer and goes home. He has committed larceny, because he has taken someone else’s property away, with the intent never to return it. A construction worker on that same site, who uses the hammer every day, puts it in his pocket at the end of the day and takes it home. He has committed embezzlement, because it was in his possession to use while he worked on the site, but when he took it off the site, he converted it into his own property.