If your employer suspects a misappropriation of funds or inventory, an organization or business may begin an internal investigation to uncover potential embezzlement. The findings of the investigation may compel a manager to file a report with law enforcement officials. This could result in a second investigation to determine whether to file state- or federal-level criminal charges.

State-level charges

The penalties for embezzlement depend on the value of goods or money an employee allegedly misappropriated. The amount can determine whether incarceration or fines become part of the penalty.

In Texas, property or money worth $1,500 or less generally classifies as a state-level misdemeanor. A conviction may result in a jail sentence of up to one year.

Under Texas laws, an amount between $1,500 and $20,000 classifies as a state-level felony offense. Penalties for a state felony conviction may include up to two years of jail time.

Federal-level charges

Based on the value of goods or cash allegedly taken, a federal felony offense could result in a more severe sentence. If an employer reports that goods or money worth at least $20,000 has gone missing, a prosecutor may file federal felony charges against a suspected employee. A federal-level felony conviction may include several decades in a federal prison.

Plea deals and penalty reductions

A defense against embezzlement may require countering a prosecutor’s allegations, but a plea deal could provide an option when the evidence is overwhelming. In one such case, law enforcement officials received information about an employee of a nonprofit organization suspected of embezzling about $1 million. After issuing a warrant for her arrest, the former NPO director surrendered and pleaded guilty. In exchange for her guilty plea, the court ordered her to serve 30 days in jail and 10 years of probation, as reported by the Amarillo Globe-News.

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