Theft by means of lying and cheating, as opposed to the use of force or threats of force, has been referred to as a white-collar crime since 1939. According to Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code, embezzlement is a white-collar crime that occurs when a person to whom money or property has been entrusted steals all or a part of it.
Embezzlement crimes are unique among theft crimes in that the money or property are not taken directly from their owners. Instead, the owner of the property voluntarily gives the property to someone to manage or hold, and the person violates the owner’s trust by taking it for personal gain. Because of the breach of trust involved in committing the crime, Texas lawmakers enacted statutes imposing harsh penalties for those who violate that trust.
Embezzlement can sometimes be a form of elder abuse. For example, a person may be given written authority to manage and control the bank accounts, stocks and other assets of an elderly individual. Acting without the knowledge of the elderly person, the person entrusted with control of the assets diverts some of the money to an account in the offender’s name. Embezzlement may also happen if the chief financial officer of a corporation takes the company’s money and spends it on personal expenses.
Texas criminal laws punish embezzlement based on the value of the property taken. Typical penalties authorized under the law include:
Fines and prison sentences increase when the victim is elderly or is a nonprofit organization or when the offender is a public servant or a government contractor.
If you have been accused of embezzlement in Texas, schedule a free case evaluation with Rand Mintzer, Attorney at Law by calling 713-862-8880.