Under the Texas Penal Code, embezzlement occurs when a person, who is entrusted with the property or funds of another, fraudulently appropriates the property or funds for their own benefit. The code defines “property” to include both tangible and intangible property, including money, documents, and electronic data.
In simpler terms, embezzlement occurs when someone takes money or property that they were entrusted with for their own use, without permission or consent from the rightful owner. This can occur in various situations, such as when an employee steals from their employer or when a financial advisor misuses their client’s funds.
Embezzlement has been consolidated under Section 31.02 of the Texas Penal Code under the umbrella offense “Theft,” and is punished accordingly. The severity of the punishment depends on the value of the property or funds that were embezzled.
Punishment for Embezzlement
– Class A Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is $750 or more but less than $2,500.
– Class B Misdemeanor if the value of the property stolen is $100 or more but less than $750.
Felony Embezzlement (theft)
– 1st Degree Felony if the value of the property stolen is $300,000 or more.
– 2nd Degree Felony the value of the property stolen is $150,000 or more but less than $300,000.
– 3rd degree felony if the value of the property stolen is $30,000 or more but less than $150,000.
– State Jail Felony if the value of the property stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000
Embezzlement under Federal Law
A crime that occurs when a person who has been entrusted with the property or funds of another person or organization takes and uses that property or funds for their own personal gain without the owner’s consent.
Embezzlement is a form of theft, but it differs from other types of theft because the person accused of embezzlement has legal access to the property or funds, but then wrongfully converts them for their own use.
Embezzlement is typically prosecuted under federal fraud laws, such as 18 U.S. Code § 641, which prohibits the theft of government property or funds, or 18 U.S. Code § 1343, which prohibits wire fraud.
To prove embezzlement under federal law, the prosecution must generally establish the following elements:
- The defendant had a fiduciary relationship with the victim, meaning the defendant was entrusted with the victim’s property or funds.
- The defendant took the property or funds without the victim’s consent.
- The defendant intended to deprive the victim of the property or funds.
If convicted of embezzlement under federal law, the defendant can face significant penalties, including fines, restitution, and imprisonment for up to 10 years or more depending on the value of the property or funds embezzled.