Like all types of theft, embezzlement is spelled out in Chapter 31 of the Texas Penal Code. It is considered a white-collar crime because it entails withholding funds from one’s employer. Embezzlement includes, but is not limited to the:
- Falsification of documents
- Concealment of key information
- Creation of “ghost” records
- Unauthorized transfer of money or property
Determining the Severity of Charges
Embezzlement charges are usually classified as misdemeanors, but they may be tried as felonies if large amounts of assets were allegedly taken.
The number of previous offenses may also increase the severity of one’s charges, as single incidents are thought of as lapses in judgment, rather than components of wider conspiracies.
Defending Against Charges
Several factors can be used as affirmative defenses against accusations of embezzlement. These defenses do not purge the alleged offender of guilt, but instead serve to mitigate the crime and reduce any ensuing penalties. Here are some examples of affirmative defenses against embezzlement charges:
- Honest mistakes in record-keeping
- Lack of intent
- Attempts to return the property to their rightful owners