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§ 812.014(1)(a), Fla. Stat. In defining "obtains or uses," the theft chapter provides in pertinent part: "Obtains or uses" means any manner of: conduct previously known as stealing; larceny; purloining; abstracting; embezzlement; misapplication; misappropriation; conversion; or obtaining money or property by false pretenses, fraud, or deception. Embezzlement may be defined as: 1) the fraudulent 2) conversion of 3) the property 4) of another 5) by one who is already in lawful possession of it.
Appellee David Paul Siegel was a member of the student government at the University of Central Florida. He was allowed to use, as part of his responsibilities as a member of the student government, a laptop computer owned by the university. At some point, the university officials demanded that appellee return the laptop computer pursuant to the student government laptop policy but appellee refused to do so. Appellee was then charged with grand theft in violation of Fla. Stat. Ann. § 812.014(2)(c)(2). He filed a motion for rehearing and sworn motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Fla. R. Crim. P. 3.190(c)(4) which was granted because the evidence indicated that when appellant first received the laptop computer, he did not have the criminal intent to deprive the university of it. The State appealed.
Was the trial court’s granting of appellee’s motion for rehearing and sworn motion to dismiss after finding that appellee lack the criminal intent proper?
The court reversed the judgment and held that the theft statute included the common law crime of embezzlement. Thus, the court ruled that the trial court erred in granting appellee’s motion because the alleged facts, if proven, fit the crime formerly known as embezzlement and now known as theft. The court further explained that Embezzlement did not require that the defendant have criminal intent when he obtained the property in question.