When financial theft is committed by an employee of a company, it’s considered embezzlement. These cases can happen at all levels of business: Everything from the cashier stealing money from the cash register to the executive stealing from corporate accounts are forms of embezzlement. It’s important to understand how these laws work if you’ve been charged with this type of financial crime.
Defending yourself against embezzlement charges
In many cases, embezzlement is what’s known as a white-collar crime, which is the term for offenses that are nonviolent and financially motivated. The statutes that define the legal rules of embezzlement are in Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 31. In order for a person to be charged, the prosecution has to prove that property was truly appropriated by the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. Property may be either goods or money. Prosecutors must also show that it was the defendant’s intent to keep the property out of the hands of its rightful owner without that owner’s knowledge or consent. Some of the most popular defenses in embezzlement cases include:
• Consent from the property’s owner
• Lack of intention to keep the property from its owner
• An honest mistake
The best defense for this type of white-collar crime depends on the conditions around the crime and the type of alleged embezzlement that occurred. Someone who is accused of stealing money by making errant alterations to company accounting books to hide income, also known as “cooking the books,” might be most defensible as a human error.
Embezzlement is a serious financial crime that happens in a range of different ways. Accused individuals should be aware of how the law treats embezzlement to present the strongest possible case in court.