I found this story on Futility Closet's blog here.
"In 1867, a Boston family paid its servant Bridget McDonald $38 in bank bills. A Martin O’Malley 'asked her to let him take the money and count it, she not being able to read or write.' When she obliged, he refused to return the bills and threatened to burn them unless she opened the door. She did, and he went off with the money."
On a side note, I'm not sure who Martin O'Malley is or what his relationship to Bridget McDonald was. If anyone can find out and let me know, it would make this story a heck of a lot more interesting.
"O’Malley was prosecuted for larceny, but the trial court seemed to feel that he was actually guilty of embezzlement, since he hadn’t taken the money from Bridget but merely kept it against her will. So it acquitted him.
[Again, what's the legal difference between taking something away from someone and keeping something against someone's will? He physically took the money, and removed it from the premises. I fail to see how this ISN'T straight-up robbing someone. Unless, of course, O'Malley was her employer, in which case things get more complicated. THIS IS WHY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO IS IMPORTANT, PEOPLE.]
"A jury then convicted O’Malley of embezzlement, but he appealed — claiming that the act amounted to larceny [aka, the thing of which he was just acquitted and for which he probably(?) couldn't be tried again (anyone know if double jeopardy works in this case?)]. And apparently he went free.
"(To prevent such injustices, many legislatures eventually combined larceny, embezzlement, and false pretenses into a single offense called theft.)"