7950 Legacy Drive, Suite 360, Plano, TX 75024
Free Initial Consultation
Call 24/7

When Can a Person Face Embezzlement Charges in Texas?

 Posted on July 21, 2023 in Criminal Defense

https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.12.htmEmbezzlement is a serious crime that involves the misappropriation of funds or other property entrusted to someone's care. In Texas, embezzlement is a white collar crime that is a form of theft, and depending on the circumstances of a case, it may be treated as a misdemeanor or felony offense. If convicted, individuals may face severe penalties, including imprisonment and hefty fines. People accused of this offense will need to be sure to understand the elements of embezzlement and the circumstances under which a person can be charged with this crime in Texas.

What Is Embezzlement?

While embezzlement is not a formal offense that is defined in Texas law, it is a form of theft that may result in criminal charges. Embezzlement occurs when a person who has been entrusted with someone else's property or funds intentionally misappropriates or converts them for personal gain. This crime typically involves a breach of trust, as the individual accused of embezzlement had usually been granted authority or responsibility over the assets they are accused of stealing.

Embezzlement can take various forms, such as:

  • Diverting funds from a company's accounts into personal accounts

  • Manipulating a company’s financial records to conceal the theft

  • Using company funds to pay for personal, non-business expenses

  • Stealing supplies or equipment such as computers from an employer

  • Creating fictitious employees or vendors and funneling money to them

Elements of Embezzlement

To show that someone has committed embezzlement in Texas, prosecutors must show that on offense involved the following elements:

  1. The defendant had a fiduciary relationship with the victim, meaning that they were trusted with the victim’s property and money.

  2. The defendant acquired the property or funds through the fiduciary relationship.

  3. The defendant intentionally misappropriated or converted the property or funds for personal use.

  4. The defendant acted without the permission or consent of the owner.

If the prosecution can establish these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, the accused individual may be convicted of embezzlement.

Penalties for an Embezzlement Conviction in Texas

The specific penalties a person may face if they are convicted of embezzlement in Texas depends on the value of the money or property that was allegedly stolen or misappropriated. The state categorizes theft offenses based on the following value thresholds:

  • Less than $100: Class C misdemeanor that may be punished by a fine of up to $500.

  • More than $100 but less than $750: Class B misdemeanor that may be punished by up to six months in a county jail and a maximum fine of $2,000.

  • More than $750 but less than $2,500: Class A misdemeanor that may be punished by up to one year in a county jail and a maximum fine of $4,000.

  • More than $2,500 but less than $30,000: State jail felony that may be punished by between six months and two years in a state jail and a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • More than $30,000 but less than $150,000: Third-degree felony that may be punished by two to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine $10,000.

  • $150,000 to less than $300,000: Second-degree felony that may be punished by two to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • $300,000 or more: First-degree felony that may be punished by five to 99 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.

It is important to note that enhanced penalties may apply in certain circumstances. For example, if the alleged victim was elderly or if a person is accused of committing embezzlement against a non-profit organization, they may be charged with the next highest level of offense. That is, if they are accused of embezzling $5,000 worth of money or property in one of these situations, they would likely be charged with a third-degree felony rather than a state jail felony.

Defenses Against Embezzlement Charges

If you have been accused of embezzlement in Texas, it is crucial to seek legal representation from an attorney who can assess the specific circumstances of your case and develop a strong defense strategy. Some potential defenses that may be raised against embezzlement accusations include:

  • Lack of intent: You may be able to prove that you were not planning to maintain permanent ownership of the property or funds that were in your possession.

  • Mistaken belief: You may show that you genuinely believed that you had the right to the property or funds in question.

  • Insufficient evidence: If the prosecution fails to provide sufficient evidence to establish all the elements of embezzlement, your case may be dismissed, or you may be acquitted of the charges.

Contact a Skilled Plano Embezzlement Defense Attorney

If you are facing accusations of embezzlement, or if you have been charged with theft, it is crucial to seek legal representation as soon as possible. The consequences of a conviction can be life-altering, affecting you both personally and professionally. At The Crowder Law Firm, P.C., our experienced Collin County property crime defense lawyers have a deep understanding of Texas’ criminal laws, and we can provide you with the aggressive defense you need. We will thoroughly investigate your case, analyze the evidence, and fight for a positive outcome. Contact us today at 214-544-0061 to schedule a free consultation with our firm.

Share this post:
Elite Lawyer AVVO National Trial Lawyer National Trial Lawyer Top 40 Under 40 SuperLawyer Client Champion 2020 Nations Top Attorneys National Association of Distinguished Counsel
Back to Top