Embezzlement: What is it, and why do you need an attorney?

Although some people might reasonably argue that the term “embezzlement” is merely a fancy way of expressing “theft,” there is actually a bit more to it than that.

When law enforcers, attorneys and courts in Texas and elsewhere bring up the term, they are using it to denote illegal conduct regarding financially related wrongdoing. The theft that occurs involves money. Moreover, and as pointed out in one online review of the subject, embezzlement “is essentially financial fraud by an employee.”

And there can sometimes even be an additional twist on that. On our website at the established Houston criminal defense law firm of Hilder & Associates, P.C., we stress that embezzlement “is theft by a person in a position of trust.”

Think the manager of a company department that works closely with money. Think an accountant who oversees a company’s financials. Think the CEO or other top-rung business executive of an enterprise.

State and federal criminal authorities crack down hard when they allege embezzlement. In select instances, and depending on the amount of money proven to have been embezzled, a defendant convicted on one or more felony charges can receive a decades-long prison sentence.

The just-mentioned term “proven” is key in any embezzlement case, given the need for prosecutors to prove unlawful conduct beyond any reasonable doubt.

With embezzlement, the facts can often be at issue, which strongly underscores the need for any defendant to secure timely and proven criminal defense representation.

And there is this, of course, as we prominently note on our site: Managing money in a corporate environment — recording incoming assets, tracking flows, paying bills and so forth — is a most complicated endeavor. People make mistakes.

In fact, they do so all the time, without having any intent whatever to deceive others or work a fraud upon their employer.

Any person who is targeted by authorities as a suspect in an embezzlement case has reason to be concerned. An experienced defense attorney can be a strong ally in efforts to challenge a charge and to fully mitigate its potential consequences.