Houston Criminal Defense Attorney
Embezzlement

What is embezzlement under Texas law?

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.

Under the 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 § 31.03(e)-(f), accessed Nov. 24, 2014

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