Embezzlement is a serious crime that can impact the rest of your life. Learn about embezzlement charges and the key defenses used by white-collar crime attorneys in Texas.
Embezzlement is a type of theft that costs businesses in the United States more than $50 billion annually. These are crimes that typically involve trusted employees who have stolen property or money from an employer. While there have been some significant embezzlement cases in the news lately, not everyone who faces embezzlement charges committed the acts with malicious intent. (1)
There are multiple scenarios where embezzlement can occur, and while acts against businesses define the majority of cases, it’s also possible for embezzlement charges to come against someone for monetary or property theft involving family or within a caretaker situation. Embezzlement is a serious crime in Texas, and anyone facing charges should be armed with the most successful defense strategies. It will be in your best interest to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer that handles white collar crimes in Texas to know what defense will work best for your case.
Understanding Embezzlement Crimes in Texas
Generally speaking, embezzlement crimes in Texas are considered to be those that involve theft for financial gain by an individual who was entrusted with protecting or safeguarding money or property with monetary value. Often, these offenses involve elements of fraud and fall under the general category of white-collar crimes.
For an act to be considered embezzlement, there doesn’t need to be a direct theft present. Any action that deliberately deceives a person or business for personal or monetary gain can be considered embezzlement. For example, making false statements regarding financial records or the misrepresentation of information for personal financial gain.
The state of Texas defines embezzlement crimes within the Texas Penal Code under Title 7, Chapter 31. (2) Under the law, crimes that can be charged as embezzlement include:
- Employee theft of cash from an employer, including inappropriate use of a company credit card
- Employee theft of goods or services from an employer
- Transferring funds from an employer or business account into their personal bank account
- Altering or falsifying company financial records to deceive or conceal the income that the individual has stolen or intends to take
Any embezzlement is a serious crime and carries the potential for severe consequences. How embezzlement is charged in the Texas judicial system depends upon the monetary amount associated with the offense.
For example, a relatively minor embezzlement offense of less than $50 typically carries a penalty that includes only a fine that is less than $500. On the other end of the spectrum are more serious embezzlement charges. In the most severe cases, where the amount of theft exceeds $200,000, penalties can include imprisonment for up to ninety-nine years and a significant fine.
Any embezzlement charge that exceeds a monetary value of $50 can potentially lead to jail time. With this in mind, it’s essential that someone facing charges work with a criminal defense lawyer to develop a defense strategy to establish their innocence and avoid a term of incarceration.
Key Embezzlement Defense Strategies
When an individual who has been charged with embezzlement meets to discuss their case with an attorney, it’s important to be as honest as possible with the details. While the circumstances may seem very cut and try to the defendant, an experienced attorney is skilled in looking for the minor details that can make all the difference in building a strong embezzlement defense strategy.
There are a few key defense strategies that are most often used in embezzlement cases. For example, the most effective defense is when the defense team is able to prove that the defendant made an honest error, or at least establish sufficient reasonable doubt of malicious intent for personal gain. Likewise, proving lack of intent to defraud the employer or establishing that the employer knowingly approved the transaction(s) are also successful defense strategies.
If an individual is facing embezzlement charges where none of the above defense strategies can apply, their defense attorney can look at establishing innocence or lack of intent through other avenues.
For example, it is possible to form a defense against embezzlement charges by illustrating that the defendant was not the only one with access to the money or property, while also establishing a lack of motive to indicate the minimal likelihood that the defendant participated in the criminal act.
Additionally, in cases where there are no means to establish a reasonable doubt of guilt, the defense team can look at other factors to possibly reduce the sentencing. For instance, if the defendant had repaid the debt, even in part, there is a possibility of reduced sentencing. Likewise, establishing that the defendant committed the act under any type of coercion can impact the final sentencing in an embezzlement case.
When to Contact a Dallas Embezzlement Defense Attorney
Many factors go into prosecuting and defending embezzlement charges. Any individual who is facing such charges should contact a Dallas embezzlement defense attorney before doing anything else. The right defense strategy can eliminate the potential of incarceration and significant fines. Even when proof has been established that a crime has been committed, a qualified attorney can work to reduce the penalties in your case. Often times, acts of embezzlement begin out of desperation and need rather than pure greed. Connect with a criminal defense attorney who can protect your freedom and provide the best outcome for your future.
Dallas Best Embezzlement Defense Attorneys
Broden & Mickelsen