Embezzlement laws provide the various elements that the state has to be able to prove if they wish to convict someone who misappropriated property or money that they were caring for. Usually, these cases are trialed at state level, which means the penal code is applicable. However, embezzlement can be trialed both as a felony or as a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the money or property that was taken.
Each jurisdiction in Texas have slight differences when it comes to their handling of embezzlement cases. However, it almost always means that someone converted property to themselves after it was entrusted to them by their victim. Convert means that the manner in which the property was dealt with is inconsistent with the agreement that existed between the two parties. As such, embezzlement can happen on a personal level (taking money from a pensioner who has entrusted someone with their finances) or on a business level (a car dealer using a vehicle for personal use, when they were supposed to sell it).
Texas Laws and Penalties
If found guilty of embezzlement, the penalties can be very harsh and severe, depending on the value of what was taken. At present, the laws in Texas guide the following sentences for different values of embezzlement:
- – Up to $1,500 – up to one year imprisonment on a misdemeanor charge.
- – Up to $20,000 – up to two years in state penitentiary on a state felony charge.
- – Up to $100,000 – up to 10 years in state prison on a 3rd degree felony.
- – Up to $200,000 – up to 20 years in state prison on a 2nd degree felony.
- – Over $200,000 – up to 99 years in state prison on a 1st degree felony.
Additionally, if you have been convicted of embezzlement, you can also expect to have to pay restitution. This means that the money you took, or the value of the property, has to be returned to the owner. In many cases, the perpetrator no longer owns the property, in which case they will have to pay their debt off in installments. Usually, the prison sentence will be followed by probation, and probation will remain in place until the last installment has been made at least. Other penalties can also be imposed, including community service, regardless of the value of property that was taken.
Texas Embezzlement Penalties
It is important to understand that there are circumstances in which the punishment you receive will be enhanced. This can be if you are employed as a public servant and used your position in order to embezzle funds or property. Additionally, if the victim is elderly or disabled, the sentence will also be higher. In most cases, you will go up to the next level of crime in these cases, unless you already were at a 1st degree felony, as that is the highest is can be.
Texas Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for embezzlement in Texas vary. Generally speaking, the term is 4 years. However, if you meet one of the criteria that make the punishment go up one level, then the statute of limitation becomes 10 years. Additionally, it must be noted that the statute of limitation can be tolled or suspended in various different circumstances.
Key Texas Embezzlement Cases
- – Ex-Bank of America manager gets 37 months in embezzlement case – Donnie Wright, former manager of the Bank of America, was sentenced to 37 months in state prison for the crime of embezzlement, after fraudulently taking over $300,000 from the bank. He was also ordered to pay full restitution in installments, 40 hours of community service and supervised release. It is one of the highest sentences handed down for embezzlement yet.
- – Two indicted in $4 million BISD embezzlement case – The BISD (Beaumont Independent School District) was formed in 1983. It covers a huge geographical area and a number of different school campuses, for which it receives financial assistance. Three people within the BISD abused their position by changing job descriptions to enable them to embezzle funds for their own financial gain.
- – Texas Woman Sentenced In $6 Million Bank Embezzlement Case – Mary Helen Lane, Whitney 1st National Bank’s former vice president, was recently sentenced to prison after embezzling over $6 from the bank, a crime to which she pleaded guilty. She received a seven year prison sentence, five years of supervised release and full restitution. Furthermore, she had to pay $100 to the court for special assessment. She embezzled the funds over a period of many years.