Being accused of a crime can be a terrifying experience. It’s natural to be worried about what will happen and how it may affect your life. Embezzlement, in particular, is one of those things you tend to only hear about on TV shows or in the news. But what is it, exactly?
Texas does not have a specific statute related to embezzlement. Rather, Texas Penal Code Chapter 31 describes many types of theft and embezzlement falls among them. But it is a peculiar type of theft, distinct from all others. It involves the taking of money or other property belonging to someone else, as all thefts do. But it is the relationship between the property and the person accused of stealing it which is unique.
Generally, a theft occurs when a person takes something which doesn’t belong to them and they have no rights to whatsoever. With embezzlement, the accused already has some control over the money or property. They are given that control – trusted with its use or management – to do something specific with it. So, their access to the property is legal but they use it in a manner which is illegal. For example, a company executive who makes fraudulent records to divert funds to themselves.
One of the important things to understand about embezzlement is that the nature of accused’s relationship to the property, and their authority to use it, can be misinterpreted. What law enforcement may initially view as illegal can easily be accepted practice within a business or industry. As such, being accused of embezzlement is in no way the same thing as being convicted of embezzlement. There’s no replacement for a thorough investigation and a sound defense strategy.