Picture this: a sharply dressed businessman who is oozing charm and confidence confidently walks into his corner office. Little does the world know, he’s hiding a dark secret behind that friendly smile. You might think this is the plot of a gripping crime drama, but it’s a snapshot of white collar crime in Texas. So, what’s the deal with these financially motivated, non-violent offenses? Keep reading to find out!
This captivating article will dive deep into white-collar crime in the Lone Star State. From the psychology behind these cunning criminals to the ways they are brought to justice, we’ll uncover the ins and outs of these intriguing offenses. Along the way, we’ll share some jaw-dropping real-life examples and explore the impact on Texas society. So, grab your cowboy hat and saddle up – it’s time to explore the wild west of white-collar crime!
What is Embezzlement?
Embezzlement in the State of Texas does not have its own Penal Code law, instead, it is categorized under the Penal Code for theft. Theft is defined as the appropriation of another person’s property with the intent to defraud or deprive them of it. Embezzlement can also include goods or services that they were entrusted to manage or hold; not just money alone. Embezzlement can occur regardless of whether the money is kept by the person taking it or transferred to a third party.
Embezzlement is a white-collar crime, but that does not mean it cannot happen in any other type of industry. The key element in Embezzlement is fraud.
What Types of Embezzlement Are There?
Embezzlement is commonly thought of as financial theft by an employee, mostly because this is the most common type of Embezzlement seen. This can happen when a special trust is built between the two parties, such as a bank teller and their client. Another example could be a business owner trusting their accountant to manage the business books and altering the books to steal small portions of money.
Embezzlement can also include theft of services, as these are goods provided by the company. This can be altering your water or gas meter with a magnet, so you do not have to pay a higher bill to the water or electric company at the end of the month. This would be stealing money from a company, as you would be taking goods from a company without their consent or knowledge.
Who is at Risk, and When Does Embezzlement Happen?
Embezzlement most commonly happens in financial institutions such as banks, credit unions, insurance companies and mortgage companies, to name a few. And while not as common as other companies, these are still at risk: healthcare organizations, manufacturing plants, real estate agencies, education institutions and the government. Other institutions at risk of Embezzlement are churches and nonprofit organizations, as they could have weaker business control over money.
Family and older adults are also at risk of Embezzlement by their own family or outsiders. For example, a famous comedian Dane Cook had millions of dollars stolen by his half-brother Darryl McCauley. Darryl was his brother’s business manager; as such, he had access to Dane’s finances, allowing him to steal and hide it from his brother.
The elderly are at risk because they rely on their family and/or a caregiver to help them with their financial needs, whether it be depositing their social security checks or helping to pay for their everyday needs. An example of the elderly being taken advantage of is imagine a grandmother giving her family $100 to buy groceries. Every time they went out, instead of spending the full $100 they only spent $80.
Embezzlement happens when an employee alters the accounting books to conceal income and takes the extra money for themselves, outright stealing the money without the company’s knowledge, creating receipts for transactions that never happened and using the money outside the company’s knowledge for personal use.
Famous Embezzlement Cases in America
According to the U.S Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), a man named Robert Vesco was a financier that embezzled approximately $224 million. But he fled the country before he could ever stand trial for these allegations. The Security and Exchange Commission later tracked him down in Cuba, but the country refused to extradite him and Robert Vesco spent his days living in Cuba off the money he had stolen.
Another big embezzlement in America was at the First National Bank of Chicago, in March of 1998. Four bank employees stole almost $70 million. There were plans made to send the money to “dummy” accounts in Australia.
Dummy accounts are created mainly because they are anonymous and untraceable. Merrill Lynch, the investment company, realized $20 million was missing from their accounts and reported it to the FBI. So, the four employees were caught before they could escape with the money.
A small embezzlement case that is still an ongoing issue is the Girl Scout embezzlement case. These cases normally involve less than $10,000. These were cases of adults stealing money from the girl scout cookie sales. This hurt the support of the troops’ local organizations and activities that were created for the children.
Penalties and Consequences for Embezzlement
Embezzlement is a serious crime that holds serious consequences and the consequences increase as the amount of money or value stolen increases.
These consequences are:
- Up to $1,500 is considered a misdemeanor and a one-year jail sentence.
- $1,500-$20,000 is considered a felony with a two-year jail sentence.
- $20,000-$100,000 is a 3rd-degree felony with a 2-10 year sentence in prison.
- $100,000-$200,000 is a 2nd-degree felony with 2-20 years in prison.
- $200,000+ is a 1st-degree felony with a sentence of 5-99 years in prison.
Embezzlement can be tried as both a criminal case and as a civil case and as such you might be ordered to pay restitution. Restitution is money paid to the other party to help them regain their losses and allow them to go back to their normal lifestyle. In most cases of Embezzlement, restitution is hardly enough as the money stolen is usually of a sizable amount, so jail time will still have to be served.
These penalties are aggravating factors that are considered when a judge is giving out their sentencing; these factors are considered enhanced penalties. One type of factor can be if the other party was an older person. Stealing money from the elderly is most likely to increase the category of punishment given out. If it was originally a misdemeanor class C, then it could go to a misdemeanor class A or B.
It is also the same as if you worked as a public servant and embezzled money from the state or federal government, it would most likely jump up from a felony to the next level of a 3rd-degree felony and your charges would be considered worse. If money embezzled was from a nonprofit organization, the penalty can be enhanced because of this.
The Criminal Procedure of Embezzlement
To briefly sum up the criminal procedure of Embezzlement, after a complaint is made by a company, an arresting officer will be sent to arrest you. After you become arrested and the officer reads you your Miranda Rights, the officer will also tell you why you are being arrested, and you will then be taken to the police or sheriff’s department and be booked. A court date will then be scheduled. This first court appearance is called the arraignment hearing. In this arraignment, the court will inform you of the charges being brought against you and you will be given the chance to give your plea. After the arraignment hearing is heard and considered by the court, you will be given a Pretrial date and time to appear.
At the Pretrial you will be allowed to present your evidence and a plea bargain can possibly be made. This is when restitution might be asked by the other party, also known as the plaintiff. However, restitution can also be ordered by the judge at a different time. If a deal is not reached, then the next step is the judge will set your case for trial and you will have to go to trial before a jury. This is when you will need the best defense lawyer who can help you fight the court trial. Please know that at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we have professional and knowledgeable attorneys who specialize in criminal cases who are experienced in building a defense that suits your needs and will be working in the best interest of you to obtain the best possible outcome that will benefit you.
Defenses That Can be Used for Embezzlement
The most important defense is proving the crime’s lack of intent. If the intention was never there, then a crime was not committed. Always remember you are considered innocent until proven guilty. It was merely an accident that happened. Accidents always happen with no ill intention of depriving someone of their assets. It could be as simple as a miscalculation, allowing the other party to think they had more money than they did. Although this mistake is still costly to the other party, it was simply an unfortunate accident that harbored no ill intent on stealing from them.
Another defense could be consent. This is where the other party agreed to the money or goods used for personal use. Another example is, a verbal agreement between you and your boss and/or the other party who allowed you to have a certain portion of money and later your boss and/or the other party went to look for the money and noticed it was missing; thinking it was embezzled by you or someone else. This could happen when you are at work and your boss gave you a bonus and they forgot to record the transaction in the books, making it look like money was taken.
Taking White Collar Criminals to Court
In Texas, white-collar criminals can face both state and federal charges, depending on the nature and scope of the crime. Key legislation, such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act, has been enacted to combat white-collar crime and ensure
White Collar Crime in Texas: An Overview
White-collar crime in Texas has been a growing concern in recent years. These types of crimes, often committed by professionals, involve deceit, fraud, and other non-violent means for financial gain. This article will provide an engaging and comprehensive look at the various aspects of white-collar crime in the Lone Star State.
The Ins and Outs of White Collar Crimes
White-collar crime, a term coined by sociologist Edwin Sutherland in 1939, refers to offenses that individuals or organizations commit professionally for financial gain. These crimes are typically non-violent and involve fraud, Embezzlement, and other financial schemes.
A Closer Look at Common Types of White Collar Crimes
In Texas, white-collar crimes can take many forms, including:
White Collar Crime
A range of offenses involving deception for financial gain (e.g., insurance, securities, tax, healthcare)
Fines, imprisonment, restitution
Misappropriation of funds by someone entrusted with their care
Fines, imprisonment, restitution
Illegal trading of stocks or securities based on non-public information
Fines, imprisonment, disgorgement
Making illegally obtained funds appear legitimate through a series of transactions
Fines, imprisonment, asset seizure
Intellectual Property Theft
Stealing trade secrets, copyrighted material, or patented designs
Fines, imprisonment, damages
Hacking, phishing, and other online schemes aimed at stealing sensitive information or causing financial harm
Fines, imprisonment, restitution
Unauthorized use of someone’s personal information to commit fraud or other crimes
Fines, imprisonment, restitution
White Collar Crime vs. Blue Collar Crime
While white-collar crime may not involve violence or physical harm, the impact on victims and society can be just as significant. White-collar criminals often use their positions of trust and authority to carry out these offenses, causing financial loss and eroding public confidence.
On the other hand, blue-collar crime refers to offenses that typically involve physical harm or property damage, such as theft or assault. Although blue-collar crimes may receive more media attention, the financial consequences of white-collar crime can be far-reaching and long-lasting.
Unraveling the Mind of a White Collar Criminal
The psychology behind white-collar crime is complex, with factors such as greed, opportunity, and a sense of entitlement playing a role. White-collar criminals often rationalize their actions, convincing themselves they deserve the financial rewards or that their victims can afford the losses.
For example, consider the case of a high-ranking executive who embezzles funds from his company. He may justify his actions by claiming that he is underpaid or that the company is not investing in his career growth. This rationalization allows him to commit the crime without feeling guilt or remorse.
Detecting and Investigating White Collar Crimes in Texas
White-collar crime detection and investigation involve a combination of regulatory agencies, whistleblowers, and internal controls. In Texas, agencies such as the Texas Securities Board and the Texas Department of Insurance play a critical role in detecting and investigating financial crimes.
Whistleblowers who report suspected wrongdoing within their organization can also be invaluable in uncovering white-collar crimes. Often, these individuals are employees or former employees who have witnessed fraudulent activities firsthand.
Audits and financial controls, such as regular reviews of financial statements and transactions, can also help to detect potential white-collar crimes. Companies with strong internal controls are less likely to fall victim to these types of offenses. Corporate accountability. These laws also provide protections for whistleblowers, encouraging them to come forward with information about potential wrongdoing.
Sentencing guidelines for white-collar crimes in Texas can vary based on the severity of the offense and the amount of financial loss involved. Penalties can include imprisonment, fines, restitution, and asset forfeiture. In some cases, white-collar criminals may also be required to complete community service or attend educational programs.
High-Profile White Collar Crime Cases in Texas
Texas has seen its share of high-profile white-collar crime cases. Some of the most notable include:
- Enron: The Houston-based energy company collapsed in 2001 after a massive accounting fraud scandal. Top executives were found guilty of conspiracy, fraud, and insider trading.
- Bernie Madoff: Although based in New York, Madoff’s Ponzi scheme significantly impacted Texas investors, who lost millions of dollars when the scheme unraveled in 2008.
- Stanford Financial Group: The Texas-based investment firm was found to be running a $7 billion Ponzi scheme in 2009, resulting in the conviction of its founder, R. Allen Stanford, on multiple fraud charges.
The Impact of White Collar Crime on Texas Society
The consequences of white-collar crime in Texas extend far beyond the financial losses suffered by victims. These crimes can lead to a loss of trust in financial institutions, corporations, and professionals, making people more cautious of potential fraud.
Regulatory and legal changes often follow high-profile white collar crime cases, as lawmakers seek to prevent future offenses and protect consumers. For example, the collapse of Enron led to the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which established new corporate governance and financial reporting requirements.
Strategies for Combating White Collar Crime in Texas
A multi-faceted approach is necessary to prevent and combat white collar crime in Texas. Some key strategies include:
- Corporate governance and internal controls: Companies should establish strong governance structures and internal controls to minimize the risk of fraud and Embezzlement.
- Compliance programs: Organizations should implement robust programs to ensure employees understand and follow applicable laws and regulations.
- Ethics training: Regular ethics training can help employees recognize and report potential white-collar crimes, fostering a culture of accountability and transparency.
- Cybersecurity measures: As cybercrime becomes an increasingly prevalent form of white-collar crime, companies must invest in robust cybersecurity measures to protect sensitive information and financial assets.
In conclusion, white-collar crime in Texas is a complex issue affecting individuals, businesses, and society. By understanding the various aspects of white-collar crime and implementing strategies to prevent and combat these offenses, Texans can work together to create a safer, more trustworthy financial landscape.
Wrapping Up: Taming the Wild West of White Collar Crime in Texas
So, there you have it, partner – we’ve ventured through the dusty trails of white-collar crime in Texas, from the stealthy tactics of smooth-talking fraudsters to our modern-day sheriffs’ relentless pursuit of justice. As we’ve seen, these crimes may not involve six-shooters or horseback chases, but their impact on the Lone Star State is just as significant.
In conclusion, white-collar crime in Texas is a complex and intriguing issue that affects the financial well-being of individuals and businesses and the trust and confidence we place in our institutions. But don’t despair, my fellow Texans – by working together and staying vigilant, we can corral these financial outlaws and restore faith in our great state. So, let’s roll up our sleeves, put on our cowboy boots, and join forces to create a safer and more prosperous Texas for all!
Need Help? Call Us Now!
Do not forget when you or anyone you know is facing a criminal charge of Embezzlement, you have us: the Law Office of Brian Fagan, by your side to help you build the best defense case!
We will work to obtain the best possible outcome that will benefit you. Therefore, do not hesitate to call us if you find yourself or someone you know who is being charged with Embezzlement. It is vital to have someone explain to you the consequences of the charge and guide you in the best possible way.
Here at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, we have professional and knowledgeable criminal attorneys who are experienced in building a defense that suits your needs for the best possible outcome.
We offer complimentary consultations for your convenience via Zoom, phone or in person. Call 281-810-9760 to schedule your appointment today.
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FAQ: White-Collar Crime in Texas
What qualifies as white-collar crime?
White-collar crime refers to non-violent, financially motivated offenses committed by individuals, businesses, or government officials. These crimes typically involve deceit, fraud, or breach of trust and can include offenses such as embezzlement, insider trading, money laundering, tax evasion, and various types of fraud.
What is an example of a white-collar crime?
One example of a white-collar crime is securities fraud, also known as insider trading. This occurs when someone with non-public, material information about a company’s stock trades on that information, violating their fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust. Insider trading undermines investor confidence in the fairness and integrity of the securities market.
What is the most common white-collar crime?
One of the most common white-collar crimes is fraud, which is a broad category that encompasses various deceptive practices. Fraud can include credit card fraud, identity theft, healthcare fraud, mortgage fraud, and tax fraud, among others. These crimes typically involve the use of deception or misrepresentation to obtain money or property from others.
What is the penalty for white collar crimes in Texas?
Penalties for white-collar crimes in Texas can vary depending on the severity and specific nature of the offense. Consequences can range from fines and restitution to probation, community service, and imprisonment. In some cases, white-collar crime convictions may also result in forfeiture of assets, professional license suspension, or disbarment. The exact penalties depend on the circumstances of each case and the applicable state or federal laws.