2021 Georgia Code
Title 16 - Crimes and Offenses
Chapter 8 - Offenses Involving Theft
Article 1 - Theft
§ 16-8-4. Theft by Conversion

Universal Citation: GA Code § 16-8-4 (2021)
  1. A person commits the offense of theft by conversion when, having lawfully obtained funds or other property of another including, but not limited to, leased or rented personal property, under an agreement or other known legal obligation to make a specified application of such funds or a specified disposition of such property, he knowingly converts the funds or property to his own use in violation of the agreement or legal obligation. This Code section applies whether the application or disposition is to be made from the funds or property of another or from the accused's own funds or property in equivalent amount when the agreement contemplates that the accused may deal with the funds or property of another as his own.
  2. When, under subsection (a) of this Code section, an officer or employee of a government or of a financial institution fails to pay on an account, upon lawful demand, from the funds or property of another held by him, he is presumed to have intended to convert the funds or property to his own use.
    1. As used in this subsection, the term "personal property" means personal property having a replacement cost value greater than $100.00, excluding any late fees and penalties, and includes heavy equipment as defined in paragraph (2) of Code Section 10-1-731 and tractors and farm equipment primarily designed for use in agriculture.
    2. Any person having any personal property in such person's possession or under such person's control by virtue of a lease or rental agreement who fails to return the personal property within five days, Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays excluded, after a letter demanding return of the personal property has been mailed to such person by certified or registered mail or statutory overnight delivery, return receipt requested, at such person's last known address by the owner of the personal property or by the owner's agent shall be presumed to have knowingly converted such personal property to such person's own use in violation of such lease or agreement.
    3. In the event that any personal property is not returned as provided for in the lease or rental agreement and the court orders the lessor or renter to pay replacement costs, replacement costs shall include but not be limited to:
      1. The market value of the personal property. The market value shall be established by the owner of the property by providing from a supplier of such or reasonably similar personal property a current quotation of the value of the personal property which is of like quality, make, and model of the personal property being replaced. The value to be awarded shall be the higher of:
        1. The value on the date when the conversion occurred; or
        2. The value on the date of the trial;
      2. All rental charges from the date the rental agreement was executed until the date of the trial or the date that the property was recovered, if recovered; and
      3. Interest on the unpaid balance each month at the current legal rate from the date the court orders the lessor or renter to pay replacement costs until the date the judgment is satisfied in full.
    4. If as a part of the order of the court the lessor or renter is placed on probation, supervision of said probation shall not be terminated until all replacement costs, fees, charges, penalties, interest, and other charges are paid in full. All payments relative to this Code section shall be made to the appropriate court of jurisdiction and the court shall make distribution to the owner within 30 days of receipt thereof.
    5. In the event that the owner incurs any expenses in the process of locating a lessor or renter who did not return any personal property according to the lease or rental agreement, the court shall provide that the lessor or renter reimburse the owner for those expenses which may include, but not be limited to, credit reports, private detective fees, investigation fees, fees charged by a law enforcement agency for such services as police reports, background checks, fees involved with swearing out a warrant for incarceration, and any other bona fide expenses.

(Code 1933, § 26-1808, enacted by Ga. L. 1968, p. 1249, § 1; Ga. L. 1969, p. 857, § 16; Ga. L. 1988, p. 763, § 1; Ga. L. 1994, p. 650, § 1; Ga. L. 1997, p. 414, §§ 1, 2; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1589, § 4.)

Cross references.

- Form of complaint for actions based on allegation of conversion, § 9-11-111.

Theft by conversion of funds collected for benefit of state pursuant to laws relating to revenue and taxation, § 48-1-5.

Editor's notes.

- Ga. L. 2000, p. 1589, § 16, not codified by the General Assembly, provides that the 2000 amendment to this section is applicable with respect to notices delivered on or after July 1, 2000.

Law reviews.

- For survey article on criminal law and procedure, see 34 Mercer L. Rev. 89 (1982). For annual survey of criminal law, see 58 Mercer L. Rev. 83 (2006). For note on the 1994 amendment of this Code section, see 11 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 126 (1994).



  • General Consideration
  • Application
  • Jury Instructions
  • Sentencing


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 26 Am. Jur. 2d, Embezzlement, § 1 et seq. 50 Am. Jur. 2d, Larceny, §§ 40, 91 et seq.


- 52B C.J.S., Larceny, §§ 58, 68.


- Intent to convert property to one's own use or to the use of third person as element of larceny, 12 A.L.R. 804.

Individual criminal responsibility of officer or employee for larceny or embezzlement, through corporate act, of property of third person, 33 A.L.R. 787.

Misappropriation by officer or employee of depository or bailee as sustaining a criminal charge against him of embezzlement of property of depositor or bailor, 45 A.L.R. 933.

What amounts to embezzlement or larceny within fidelity bond, 56 A.L.R. 967.

Appropriation or removal without payment of property delivered in expectation of immediate cash payment, as criminal offense, 83 A.L.R. 441.

Transfer of possession of personal property with owner's consent, obtained by fraud, as conversion, 95 A.L.R. 615.

Liability as to conversion of stock or securities as affected by fact that party charged with conversion was in possession of other stock or securities of same type, 104 A.L.R. 1114.

General denial by answer in action for conversion or replevin as permitting proof of special title, lien, or right of possession, 104 A.L.R. 1154.

What amounts to concealment which will prevent running of limitation against prosecution for embezzlement, 110 A.L.R. 1000.

Negative conduct as basis of claim of conversion, 116 A.L.R. 870.

What constitutes public funds or public money within embezzlement statute, 123 A.L.R. 478.

Distinction between larceny and embezzlement, 146 A.L.R. 532.

"Defalcation" within provisions of Bankruptcy Act excepting from discharge debts of fiduciary or officer, 163 A.L.R. 1008.

Nature of property or rights other than tangible chattels which may be subject of conversion, 44 A.L.R.2d 927.

Rights of owner of stolen money as against one who won it in gambling transaction from thief, 44 A.L.R.2d 1242.

Conversion by promoter of money paid for a preincorporation subscription for stock shares as embezzlement, 84 A.L.R.2d 1100.

Drawing of check on bank account of principal or employer payable to accused's creditor as constituting embezzlement, 88 A.L.R.2d 688.

When statute of limitations begins to run against criminal prosecution for embezzlement, fraud, false pretenses, or similar crimes, 77 A.L.R.3d 689.

When statute of limitations begins to run against action for conversion of property by theft, 79 A.L.R.3d 847.

Where is embezzlement committed for purposes of territorial jurisdiction or venue, 80 A.L.R.3d 514.

Bank officer's or employee's misapplication of funds as state criminal offense, 34 A.L.R.4th 547.

What constitutes tax-deductible theft loss under 26 USCS § 165, 98 A.L.R. Fed. 229.

What constitutes violation of 15 USCS § 714m(c), proscribing larceny or conversion of property owned by or pledged to Commodity Credit Corporation, 109 A.L.R. Fed. 871.

What is "property of another" within statute proscribing larceny, theft, or embezzlement of property of another, 57 A.L.R. 6th 445.

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