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Understanding Texas embezzlement laws

On Behalf of | Jul 9, 2023 | Firm News

Embezzlement is one of several white-collar crimes that occur in Texas. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, embezzlement can destroy a company and cause investors to lose billions of dollars. Texas embezzlement law defines this crime and points out its punishment.

What is embezzlement?

Embezzlement is when an employee steals money or other assets from their employer. In addition to theft, fraud often plays a role as well. Although embezzlement is usually considered one of many types of white-collar crimes, the classification might change based on the circumstances of the offense and those involved.

Embezzlement can occur on any level and in any business. A cashier stealing from a cash register is embezzling money. It’s no different than an account manager stealing from a business account.

Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 31

Texas Penal Code, Title 7, Chapter 31 outlines the elements needed to prove the occurrence of embezzlement. Without undeniable proof of the crime, an embezzlement case is unlikely to succeed. Actions seen as proof of embezzlement include:

  • Stealing money from an employer
  • Stealing non-monetary items from an employer
  • Transferring funds from a business account to a personal account
  • Hiding business income or expenses by using fake receipts or invoices


Embezzlement penalties depend on the circumstances of the case. Usually, the punishment depends on the amount or value of the theft, what was stolen and the position of the person who committed the crime.

Embezzling up to $1,500 is a misdemeanor that could result in spending up to two years in jail. If the amount is more than $1,500, the misdemeanor becomes a felony.

Embezzling $1,500 up to $20,000 is a felony that can include two years in jail. If the amount exceeds $20,000, the defendant might spend time in prison. The sentence depends on the degree of the felony, with a first-degree conviction receiving a possible 99 years in state prison.