Overview of Texas Embezzlement Laws
Texas embezzlement laws fall under the law criminalizing theft. Embezzlement is essentially financial theft by an employee. It can be considered white collar crime in some instances but it does not have to be only a white collar offense. It occurs when the defendant is entrusted with his or her employer's money or goods and then steals those money or goods. Many instances of embezzlement also involve elements of fraud.
Example: The employee working at a cash register of a retail store is entrusted with her employer's money and goods. If the employee starts stealing money from the store, this is called embezzlement and falls under the crime of theft. Another example is a person who oversees corporate accounts. If this person begins to steal some of the money in those corporate accounts, this is also known as embezzlement.
Texas Embezzlement Laws: An Overview
Below you will find key information on Texas embezzlement laws, penalties, and possible defenses. It is a good idea to speak with an attorney before admitting guilt or accepting a plea deal on any Texas criminal charges.
Elements of Embezzlement
Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant appropriated property, such as money or goods, with the intent to deprive the true owner of the property without the owner's consent. Some of the more well-known ways to be caught up in an embezzlement charge are the following:
- Theft of cash from an employer
- Theft of goods or services from an employer
- Transferring funds from a corporate account of the defendant's employer to the defendant's personal bank account
- Altering company books in some way in order to conceal income to the defendant's employer
NOTE:Entrapment is not a defense. Under this law, it is not a defense that law enforcement solicited, provided the facility for or deceived or strategized to get the defendant to commit the crime.
- Mistake (i.e. the defendant did not intend to alter company books to conceal income, but rather made an honest mistake in some of his math which lead to the apparent concealment)
- Lack of intent to deprive the owner of the property
- Consent was given by the owner of the property
Texas embezzlement laws, or theft laws, provide for a number of different penalties upon conviction. The factor that determines the severity of the punishment if convicted on a charge of embezzlement is the amount or value of the goods, services or cash stolen. If you are considered a public servant and you commit embezzlement, you will face a higher penalty.
Here is a breakdown
- Up to $1,500: misdemeanor, penalties include up to one year in jail
- $1,500 to $20,000: state jail felony, penalties include up to two years in state jail
- $20,000 to $100,000: 3rd degree felony, 2 to 10 years in prison
- $100,000 to $200,000: 2nd degree felony, 2 to 20 years in state prison
- More than $200,000: 1st degree felony, 5 to 99 years in state prison
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Texas Embezzlement Laws: Related Resources
Arrested for Embezzlement in Texas? Contact an Attorney
While Texas embezzlement laws might be difficult to understand, mounting a defense can be even more challenging. That's why it's important to contact a local criminal defense attorney if you've been charged with violating Texas embezzlement laws. A lawyer can give you legal advice based on your specific situation, and be at your side when you answer to the charges, appear in court, and in plea deal meetings.