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Gambling addiction is behind many embezzlement accusations

by | Jun 30, 2021 | Firm News

Professionals charged with embezzling are often portrayed as hardened criminals who think nothing of abusing the trust of their employer or clients for their personal gain.

But in many cases, those accused of embezzlement have no criminal record and have never even been arrested before. They are not career con artists or criminals but white-collar professionals caught in the grip of gambling addiction.

How out-of-control gambling losses can lead to embezzlement

Once someone’s gambling starts getting out of control, they quickly begin running through their own money. Out of desperation, they may start taking small amounts of money out of accounts belonging to their company or one of their clients. Because of their professional knowledge and the trust placed in them, they know how to cover their tracks, and nobody notices at first. They pay off their gambling debts and tell themselves they’ll never do it again.

But as time goes on and the person’s gambling losses grow larger and larger, the embezzlement incidents become more frequent, and they take larger amounts. In some cases, by the time police arrest the person on embezzlement charges, the amount alleged taken has reached hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Those are the cases that make the news. Much more common are the smaller cases where hundreds or thousands of dollars are missing and an employee with access to the company’s credit card or bank accounts is accused of stealing it.

Embezzlement in Texas

Under Texas’ state criminal code, embezzlement is treated as a form of theft. Once the amount allegedly embezzled exceeds $2,500, the prosecution will charge the defendant with a felony. Even lower amounts can result in class A or B misdemeanor charges, which can lead to a jail sentence.