Defending Yourself from Embezzlement Charges
December 1st, 2020 by Tad Nelson in White Collar Crime
Embezzlement is a term used to describe the act of stealing money that someone else has entrusted you to manage or hold on his or her behalf. While cases involving embezzlement often arise in the employment context, such as when an employee uses company funds for his or her own use, this is not the only type of activity that qualifies as embezzlement under Texas law.
Whatever the nature of the allegations, being charged with embezzlement can have severe repercussions, including jail time, hefty fines, significant damage to a person’s reputation, and the creation of a permanent criminal record. With so much at stake, it is particularly important for those who have been accused of embezzlement, to reach out to an experienced Houston embezzlement lawyer who can work towards getting your charges reduced or even dismissed.
Penalties for Embezzlement
In Texas, embezzlement, like other forms of theft, is punished based on the amount of money that was allegedly taken by the defendant. If, for instance, the property in question was worth less than $50, a defendant would most likely be charged with a Class C misdemeanor, which comes with a $500 fine. For amounts between $50 and $500, however, a person will be charged with at least a Class B misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $2,000 fine. Those who are accused of unlawfully taking property worth between $500 and $1,500, on the other hand, will most likely be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This category is the most severe type of misdemeanor offense and can result in a jail sentence of up to a year and a $4,000 fine.
Although it can be charged as a misdemeanor, embezzlement, which often takes place in a business context, is typically categorized as a felony crime, as any offenses involving funds with a value of more than $1,500 can be charged as a felony.
Fortunately, it is possible for those who have been accused of embezzlement to avoid jail time and fines if they can present a strong defense. While the exact arguments they raise will depend on the specific facts of the case at hand, many of those who are accused of embezzlement are able to avoid an unfair conviction by proving that:
- They had a good faith belief that they were entitled to the money;
- Although the embezzlement occurred, they were not the party responsible;
- They were falsely accused;
- The state’s evidence doesn’t prove intent, which is a necessary element of the offense;
- The evidence being presented by the state was obtained during an unlawful search, or was otherwise seized unlawfully; or
- The prosecutor’s witnesses lack credibility.
To learn more about creating a legal strategy to defend yourself against allegations of embezzlement, please call our office today.
Speak with Our Experienced Attorneys
Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today for experienced representation in embezzlement and other white collar crime-related legal matters in Houston, Galveston, or League City. You can reach us by calling 281-962-7817 or via online message.