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A peculator (also referred to as an embezzler) refers to a person who steals money that was under their supervision, by utilizing the benefit or convenience created by their position. The money is not limited to cash, and can include vouchers, or any monetary benefit entrusted by the peculator who doesn’t legally own it. Peculation is different from committing theft;  commonly theft occurs when the person does not have the legal right to possess the private funds or public property, but the peculator does have the legal right to access. According to the 18 U.S. Code § 641, a peculator might be fined or face imprisonment for not more than 10 years.

[Last updated in May of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]