In Texas, accusations for theft crimes such as embezzlement are taken so seriously, they almost immediately require the assistance of a criminal defense attorney, even before charges are filed. A person may be charged with this crime for several reasons. State and federal agencies might investigate an individual for embezzlement if he is suspected of:
- Concealing the source of deposited funds
- Failing to report cash transactions that exceed $10,000
- Structuring transactions to hide their true value
- Transferring money from company-owned accounts to his private bank account
Anyone who has been accused of committing this crime should contact an embezzlement attorney who will work hard to protect their rights in court.
The Possible Consequences of a Conviction
The criminal penalties for an embezzlement conviction in Texas are described in Chapter 31, Title 7 of the state’s penal code. Embezzlement is usually a misdemeanor crime, but it can be charged as a felony if the alleged suspects steal large quantities of money or property.
- Class C misdemeanor (less than $50): a maximum fine of $500
- Class B misdemeanor ($50 to $499): a maximum fine of $2,000 and/or up to 180 days in jail
- Class A misdemeanor ($500 to $1,499): a maximum fine of $4,000 and/or up to one year in jail
- State jail felony ($1,500 to $19,999): a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or 180 days to two years in state jail
- Third-degree felony ($20,000 to $99,999): a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or two to 10 years in prison
- Second-degree felony ($100,000 to $199,999): a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or two to 20 years in prison
- First-degree felony ($200,000 or more): a maximum fine of $10,000 and/or five to 99 years in prison
A Prosecutor’s Burden of Proof
Before a state or federal prosecutor can convict a defendant, he must prove that the defendant acted with malicious intent and knowingly stole from an employer or fellow co-worker. The prosecution must prove that the accused:
- Intentionally pilfered or misappropriated another individual’s money
- Deceived a person or entity with whom he had a fiduciary responsibility
- Used his position of employment to obtain the assets
Arrested For A Criminal Offense in Texas?
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Defenses Against Embezzlement Allegations
A white-collar crimes attorney who is well-versed in theft or fraud laws might be able to mitigate a defendant’s charges or ensuing penalties. The following are examples of affirmative defenses against embezzlement accusations:
- There was a human or computing error in the company’s accounting practices.
- The accused individual had attempted to return the taken property.
- The defendant unknowingly or unintentionally committed the crime.
The absence of intent is the strongest defense against these allegations. A defendant’s charges may be dismissed if it is determined that he did not have an objective to embezzle.
Embezzlement charges often accompany other charges like wire fraud or money laundering. The penalties for these crimes are severe and can include prison time or heavy fines. Accused individuals should seek the assistance of a qualified criminal defense attorney right away.
Contact a Houston Embezzlement Attorney
Houston criminal defense attorney Mario Madrid has ample experience with criminal cases and has practiced law for over 15 years. He will use his knowledge of the legal system to fight for your rights.