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Embezzlement is a major white-collar crime

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | White Collar Crimes

A white-collar crime investigation can be lengthy and costly for its targets. Federal or Texas law enforcement can investigate individuals for allegedly misappropriating entrusted assets.


Embezzlement is among the best known of these white collar crimes. This fraud offense occurs when a person intentionally uses funds for a different purpose than what was intended. The offense may be complicated because the embezzler had permission to have these funds or assets but used them in an unauthorized manner.

An embezzler violates their fiduciary duty to a business or organization. They had the duty to and were entrusted to properly oversee the funds but used them for a personal or unauthorized use.

Each year, embezzlement and theft cost businesses around $400 billion. This accounts for over 50% of business failures.


Embezzlement may be as small as a store employee taking a few dollars from a cash register. On a larger scale, corporate executives may fraudulently expense millions of dollars and transfer those funds into their personal accounts.

An embezzler may divert funds into accounts that appear authorized to receive payments or transfers. They may create bills and receipts for services, for example, that never occurred or services that were never performed to disguise the fund transfer as legitimate business.

Embezzlers may conspire with a partner who is listed as a consultant or contractor who issues invoices. However, they never perform these duties.

Embezzlers can also transfer assets other than money. They may claim real estate, a corporate vehicle, smartphones and other technology as laptops and personal electronic devices for personal use.

Embezzlement may be combined with other white-collar crimes such as Ponzi schemes. The embezzler tricks investors to entrust them with their assets for investment on their behalf. However, they use these funds for personal enrichment. New investors are constantly sought to keep up the fraud.


Embezzlement is a serious federal crime and may constitute a theft offense in Texas. For a conviction, prosecutors must generally prove:

  • There was a fiduciary relationship between two parties and one party relied on the other.
  • The defendant acquired the money or property through that relationship.
  • The defendant’s actions were intentional and not a mistake.
  • The defendant took ownership of the property permanently or temporarily, transferred the property to someone else or destroyed or hid the property.

Criminal punishments can include payment of monetary restitution to victims and imprisonment. Incarceration may be for lengthy periods, depending on the seriousness of the offense.

 Attorneys can help protect defendants’ rights at all stages of investigation and prosecution. They may also assist them with seeking the best resolution under the circumstances.