When your employer or client entrusts you with their property and you steal it or use it for your personal gain, you could face harsh penalties, including a jail term, hefty times, revocation of professional licenses, etc. It’s important to understand what constitutes embezzlement in Texas and how you can go about defending against charges.
What is embezzlement under Texas law?
Embezzlement is a white-collar crime categorized under Texas Penal Code Sec. 31.01. It involves taking advantage of a property or deliberately stealing money that your employer entrusted you with. Some examples include:
- Using services or goods from your place of work for your personal gain
- Transferring your employer’s money into your bank account without permission
- Taking cash from the register or from clients and using it for your benefit like buying lunch, tickets, etc.
- Modifying the accounting books to hide some of the money from your employer
Punishment for embezzlement
Texas criminal court punishes embezzlement depending on the extent of the crime and the number of times you have committed it. Here is how state law assigns penalties:
- If you steal money or property under $100, you will have committed a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable with a fine of up to $500.
- Stealing property worth $100 to $500 is a class B misdemeanor, punishable by six months in jail, a fine of $2,000 or both.
- Unlawfully taking property or money worth $500 to $1,500 can land you up to a year in prison with fines of up to $4,000.
- Stealing anything above $1,500 is a felony in Texas, and depending on the amount, you could spend anywhere from one year to a lifetime in prison and be ordered to pay hefty fines.
If your employer accuses you of embezzlement, just the allegations alone will tarnish your reputation as an employee, which can make it difficult to get a new job or keep your last one. It’s important to clear your name and build your reputation once again by proving yourself worthy of trust.