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What are the laws on embezzlement in Texas?

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2022 | Criminal Defense, White Collar Crimes

Don’t underestimate the complexity of Texas’s embezzlement laws. It’s all too easy to be overwhelmed if you’re facing embezzlement charges or aren’t sure if you’re liable in a situation.

Embezzlement and Texas law

The laws that relate to embezzlement in Texas are categorized under the broader law that covers theft. Embezzling is a specific type of financial theft that is committed by an employee.

People mainly think of embezzlement as a white-collar crime. While it often is, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. When an employer entrusts their goods or money to an employee and that individual misappropriates them, it’s can be embezzlement. It’s easy for fraud to be brought into the mix as well with cases of embezzlement.

Under Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 31, it must be proven beyond reasonable doubt by the prosecution that the property was appropriated by the defendant. The prosecutor also has to show that the defendant intended to take the property away from the owner without their consent.

Embezzlement penalties

The amount of money or value of the goods that were embezzled is one of the key factors that determine how severe the penalties are. Bear in mind that embezzlement crimes carry more weight if your job makes you a public servant.

Embezzlement of $1,500 or less is considered a misdemeanor. You might get as much as a year behind bars for the crime. When you get into the $1,500 to $20,000 territory, the crime becomes a felony. The penalty bumps up to a two-year sentence at a state jail.

One of the most common defenses against embezzlement is that it was an honest mistake. Errors do happen whether it’s incorrect math or poorly kept record books. Another defense is that the person didn’t intend to take away the owner’s property or that the owner of the property had given their permission.