Embezzlement is a type of theft by an employee from their employer, clients, or any third parties related to your occupation. The crime of embezzlement can also include transferring small amounts of money from an organization, including a non-profit, to an account only the defendant has access to. What separates an embezzlement charge from typical theft is that the defendant was in a trusted position and had legal access to the money.
Accusations of embezzlement from your boss, clients, or any other party can be extremely stressful and difficult to defend. A defense for embezzlement will require both extensive financial and legal knowledge if you wish to pursue reduced or dismissed charges. That is why we highly encourage you to contact Matthew Horak of Horak Law if you’ve been arrested for embezzlement.
Embezzlement Lawyer Houston | Harris County, Texas
If you’ve been arrested or you’re currently under investigation for embezzlement, contact Horak Law. Matthew Horak has spent the last 17 years aggressively defending his client’s rights in Texas’s courtrooms. He has completed over 60 criminal trials and previously worked with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. His unique perspective as both a former prosecutor and a defense attorney allows him to see into both sides of the courtroom and use that to his advantage. To learn your legal options, call white collar crimes attorney Matthew Horak at Horak Law.
Set up your first consultation with Texas embezzlement defense lawyer Matthew Horak today at (713) 225-8000. Horak Law has locations in both The Woodlands and Houston, but accept clients in other areas including Liberty County, Waller County, Galveston County, Fort Bend County, Harris County, and Montgomery County.
- What is Considered Embezzlement in Texas?
- How Long Can You Go to Jail for Embezzlement?
- Additional Resources
What is Considered Embezzlement in Texas?
Some states in the U.S. have a specific statute for Embezzlement. However, the state of Texas currently doesn’t have a section dedicated to embezzlement under the Penal Code. Instead the crime of embezzlement can be found under the theft statute which is section 31.02 of the Texas Penal Code. The statute lists out the elements of the crime as well as the penalties based on how much money was embezzled.
In order to convict a person of embezzlement, the prosecution will have to prove you appropriated something of value from either your employer, client, contractor, or any party that entrusted you with legal access to their money. The “something of value” ca. range from money, goods, services, and more.
Listed below are some examples of embezzlement as defined under Texas law.
- Transferring funds for a company to a personal account
- Using and/or writing checks for a personal reason
- Pocketing the difference in change from a financial transaction
- Stealing money from the tip jar or petty cash container
- Not giving customers or clients the correct amount of change
- Issuing out a false loan to yourself or someone else without authorization
How Long Can You Go to Jail for Embezzlement?
Embezzlement, although a non-violent offense, carries serious penalties depending on how much money was embezzled. Embezzling less than $100 from your employer or any other party who gave you legal access to their money is a class C misdemeanor. Conviction for a class C misdemeanor is punishable by a $500 fine.
The charge may be reclassified as a class B misdemeanor if any of the following factors were present during the commission of the crime.
- The money embezzled was worth more than $100, but less than $750
- You embezzled less than $100 form your employer and have a prior conviction for theft
- You embezzled a driver’s license, personal identification certificate, or commercial driver’s license
The court may charge you instead with a class A misdemeanor if they find the property/cash embezzled was at $750 or more, but less than $2,500. A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
An embezzlement charge can be enhanced to a state jail felony if any of the following occurred during the commission of the crime:
- You embezzled at least $2,500 or more, but less than $3,000
- The property embezzled was 10 heads of sheep, swine, goat or any part there of under the value of $30,000
- The property embezzled was a firearm(s)
- You embezzled less than $2,500, but you had two prior convictions for theft
- The property embezzled was composed of copper, bronze, aluminum, or brass and valued at less than $20,000
The maximum sentence you may receive for a state jail felony is up to two years in state jail and a fine of up to $10,000.
The crime of embezzlement is classified as a third-degree felony if any of the following factors are proven in a court of law.
- You embezzled at least $30,000 or more, but less than $150,000
- You embezzled cattle, horses, fowl, or exotic livestock that valued less than $150,000
- The property embezzled was 10 heads of sheep, goats, or swine with a value less than $150,000
A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Any embezzlement crime involving property/money valued at $150,000 or more, but less than $300,000 is a second-degree felony. The maximum sentence for a second-degree felony includes up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 conviction fine.
Embezzlement Laws in Texas – Visit the Texas Penal Code to learn more about the laws surrounding embezzlement and theft. Access the site to find more information regarding the different types of theft and white-collar crimes including money laundering, embezzlement, grand theft, amongst many others.
Financial Crimes Unit | Houston PD – Visit the official website for the Houston Police Department to learn more about their financial crime’s unit. Access the site to learn more about identity theft, financial responsibility and crime, what evidence is needed to convict, and more.
Harris County Embezzlement Defense Attorney | Houston, TX
Have you been accused of embezzlement or another white-collar crime? If so, call Horak Law. Matthew Horak and his experienced legal team have defended numerous clients from white financial crimes including embezzlement, money laundering, and fraud. With experience as both a defense attorney and prosecutor, Matthew Horak may be your greatest asset and key to avoiding the statutory penalties of embezzlement.
Call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 to set up your first consultation free of charge. Horak Law has offices in both Houston and The Woodlands.