Punitive UCMJ Article 121 for Larceny and Wrongful Appropriation

Article 121 - Larceny and wrongful appropriation

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UCMJ Article 121 lays out the potential charges for a service member of the U.S. military that unlawfully takes possession of another person’s property without their consent. The two criminal offenses laid out under Article 121 include larceny and wrongful appropriation. 

Larceny includes any crime involving the permanent taking, obtaining or withholding property from the the owner. Wrongful appropriation is much the same as larceny, except the intent to keep the property was temporary, not permanent.

Below is the text from the Manual for Courts-Martial (2016) detailing UCMJ Article 121.

(a) Any person subject to this chapter who wrongfully takes, obtains, or withholds, by any means, from the possession of the owner or of any other person any money, personal property, or article of value of any kind—

(1) with intent permanently to deprive or de-fraud another person of the use and benefit of property or to appropriate it to his own use or the use of any person other than the owner, steals that property and is guilty of larceny; or

(2) with intent temporarily to deprive or de-fraud another person of the use and benefit of property or to appropriate it to his own use or the use of any person other than the owner, is guilty of wrongful appropriation.

(b) Any person found guilty of larceny or wrongful appropriation shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

The specific elements of both larceny and wrongful appropriation include:

(1) Larceny.

(a) That the accused wrongfully took, obtained, or withheld certain property from the possession of the owner or of any other person;

(b) That the property belonged to a certain person;

(c) That the property was of a certain value, or of some value; and

(d) That the taking, obtaining, or withholding by the accused was with the intent permanently to deprive or defraud another person of the use and benefit of the property or permanently to appropriate the property for the use of the accused or for any person other than the owner. Note: If the property is alleged to be military property, as defined in paragraph 32c(1), add the following element

(e) That the property was military property.

    (2) Wrongful appropriation

    (a) That the accused wrongfully took, obtained, or withheld certain property from the possession of the owner or of any other person;

    (b) That the property belonged to a certain person;

    (c) That the property was of a certain value, or of some value; and

    (d) That the taking, obtaining, or withholding by the accused was with the intent temporarily to deprive or defraud another person of the use and benefit of the property or temporarily to appropriate the property for the use of the accused or for any person other than the owner.

      Here's the detailed explanation of larceny and wrong appropriation: 

      (1) Larceny.

      (a) In general. A wrongful taking with intent permanently to deprive includes the common law offense of larceny; a wrongful obtaining with intent permanently to defraud includes the offense formerly known as obtaining by false pretense; and a wrongful withholding with intent permanently to appropriate includes the offense formerly known as embezzlement. Any of the various types of larceny under Article 121 may be charged and proved under a specification alleging that the accused “did steal” the property in question.

      ...

      (2) Wrongful appropriation.

      (a) In general. Wrongful appropriation requires an intent to temporarily—as opposed to permanently—deprive the owner of the use and benefit of, or appropriate to the use of another, the property wrongfully taken, withheld, or obtained. In all other respects wrongful appropriation and larceny are identical.

      The maximum punishment for larceny and wrongful appropriation includes:

      (1) Larceny.

      (a) Military property of a value of $500.00 or less. Bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.

      (b) Property other than military property of a value of $500.00 or less. Bad-conduct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.

      (c) ​Military property of a value of more than $500.00 or of any military motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, firearm, or explosive. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 10 years.

      (d) Property other than military property of a value of more than $500.00 or any motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, firearm, or explosive not included in subparagraph e(1)(c). Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for five years.

        (2) Wrongful appropriation.

        (a) Of a value of $500.000 or less. Confinement for 3 months, and forfeiture of two-thirds pay per month for 3 months.

        (b) Of a value of more than $500.00. Bad-con-duct discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 6 months.

        (c) Of any motor vehicle, aircraft, vessel, firearm, or explosive. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 2 years.

          The above information is from the Manual for Courts-Martial, 2016