Embezzlement, like many forms of white-collar crime, is prosecuted mercilessly and the penalties that an offender faces can be very harsh when compared to the crime that was committed. Embezzlement and other ‘white collar’ offenses are usually prosecute based on loss. This means punishment based on the amount of money allegedly taken. With prison sentences and lofty fines looming, it is essential that anyone facing embezzlement charges contacts an experienced embezzlement lawyer as soon as possible so they can present a zealous defense and protect the offender’s freedom.
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement is a type of property theft, which is sometimes referred to as employee theft. It occurs when someone has access to another person or entity’s assets and steals or otherwise uses those assets for their own personal gain. The distinction here is that the offender had access to the assets but did not own them. Embezzlement is theft conducted by a person who was in a special position of trust.
Penalties in Texas for Embezzlement
Embezzlement in the state of Texas can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, and can land the offender in either county jail, state jail, or state prison. While people in conversation use the term jail and prison interchangeably, they legally refer to separate and vastly different incarceration systems. The charge of embezzlement, depending on the amount embezzled, can land an offender in county jail, state jail, or state prison.
County jail is designed to be a temporary incarceration institution, housing offenders who have received sentences of less than one year. County jails are the least secure level of the three, accommodating only non-violent offenders, and will allow the inmates for more freedom. County jails allow for more visits with family and friends but offer few recreational opportunities as inmates aren’t staying there for long.
As a form of “middle ground”, state jails are often seen as minimum-security prisons. They are far less restrictive than state prison and are unlikely to house any violent offenders. State jail generally serves offenders with sentences between one and two years.
State prison has a much higher level of security and are very restrictive. State prisons will house violent and non-violent offenders together, which can pose a danger to non-violent offenders. However, as they are intended for offenders with longer sentences, they offer more opportunities with regards to recreation.
Embezzlement penalties can be severe, and the length of prison time an offender faces increases with the amount of money that was embezzled. The chart below details each offense, its value, and the penalty an offender would face if convicted. Because these penalties can be incredibly harsh, having an experienced white collar crime attorney fighting for you is essential to getting the best possible outcome and the lowest possible sentence.
|Misdemeanor Embezzlement||Up to $1,500||Up to one year in a county jail and a fine of up to $10,000|
|“State Jail” Felony Embezzlement||$1,500 – $20,000||Up to two years in a state jail and a fine of up to $10,000|
|Third Degree Felony Embezzlement||$20,000 – $100,000||Two to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000|
|Second Degree Felony Embezzlement||$100,000 – $200,000||Two to 20 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000|
|First Degree Felony Embezzlement||$200,000 or more||Five to 99 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000|
If the offender was considered to be a “public servant” at the time of the offense, the charge will be enhanced to the subsequent penalty. This is because public servants are to be held to a higher standard. Enhanced penalties also apply if the victim of the embezzlement was elderly (65 years old or older), if the victim was a nonprofit organization, or if the defendant was in a contractual relationship with a government entity.
El Paso Embezzlement Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one are facing embezzlement charges in Texas, it’s paramount that you act fast and contact an experienced embezzlement defense lawyer. White collar crimes such as embezzlement are prosecuted zealously and the penalties can be harsh so you need an advocate who can be just as relentless in fighting for you, your rights, and your freedom.
The Benjamin Law Firm offers a comprehensive criminal defense practice lead by name partner Brock Benjamin, who is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. As a former prosecutor, Attorney Benjamin has an advantage in knowing just how cases are prosecuted from the inside, so that the Benjamin Law Firm can best fight against these charges. Our office is located in El Paso, but we have experience defending clients across the Lone Star State. Contact us at your earliest convenience so we can get started fighting for you. También podemos ayudarte en español.
Posted in: White Collar Crimes