Embezzlement is the crime of stealing money that someone has entrusted
you to manage or hold. Embezzlement cases often arise in the employment
context, when an employee with access to company funds is accused of appropriating
some of those funds for their own use. Under Texas law, embezzlement is
a form of theft.
Texas Penal Code, embezzlement and other forms of theft are punished according to the amount
of money involved. For example, if the allegedly stolen property was less
than $50, the offense is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of
not more than $500. For amounts between $50 and $500, the offense is charged
as a Class B misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $2,000, a jail
sentence of not more than 180 days or both. Embezzlement is a Class A
misdemeanor if the amount stolen is $500 to $1,500; the punishment is
a fine of up to $4,000 and a jail sentence of up to one year.
Embezzlement becomes a felony if the amount stolen is $1,500 or more. Punishments
for felonies can include imprisonment for anywhere from 180 days to life,
depending on the amount stolen.
If you are charged with
embezzlement you have a number of possible defenses. It may be that you had a good
faith belief you were entitled to the use of the money. In some cases
embezzlement actually occurred, but someone other than you was responsible.
It is also possible that you were falsely accused by a co-worker with
a grudge against you. By challenging the state's evidence and attacking
the credibility of prosecution witnesses, an aggressive defense lawyer
can often get the charges dismissed.
Source: Tex. Penal Code Â§ 31.03(e)-(f), accessed Nov. 24, 2014