On the surface, fraud may not seem so bad. You might think that it's no big deal to take a few dollars from the cash register at work or to hide a few transactions so that no one notices you took additional money for your own purposes.
While those small transactions might not seem very important, they can add up and could result in your being charged with fraud in Texas, a federal crime.
Embezzlement and employee theft can result in charges
When an employee steals money from their employer, it is known as embezzlement. Embezzlement occurs when someone wrongfully appropriates funds that were placed in their care but actually belong to another person. Most of the time, embezzlement occurs within a company when employees steal from their employers, but anyone who steals money when they have a fiduciary duty could face charges for this crime.
Embezzlement can be prosecuted in two ways. It can be a civil crime or criminal fraud case. In a civil case, your employer has the right to file a lawsuit against you. In a criminal case, law enforcement, the state or government will bring a case against you.
When is stealing embezzlement?
Embezzlement occurs when there is a fiduciary relationship established and the defendant acquires property through that relationship. The prosecution will also have to show that you took ownership of the property or gave it to someone else following the fraud. The prosecution has to show that the fraud was intentional.
If you are convicted of embezzlement, you could face a number of penalties depending on the amount of money that was taken. For smaller amounts, you might face fines or be ordered to pay back what you stole. In certain cases, you may be faced with prison for taking money from an employer.
In more extreme cases, it's likely that the court will impose heavy fines and penalties along with a prison sentence. This would be most likely in cases where a person's intentions were clear or when the crimes took place over a long period of time. However, anyone can face prison time and penalties, so it's important to talk to your attorney about building a defense to the charges against you.
If you're accused of fraud, reach out for legal help. You'll want to develop a defense and make sure you're not facing unfair biases or treatment that you don't deserve.