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Determining if Embezzlement is a State or Federal Crime

 Posted on January 18, 2024 in Uncategorized

Dallas criminal defense lawyerEmbezzlement is a white-collar crime that can be charged at the federal or state level, depending on certain factors. It is essential to understand the distinctions to get effective representation. A Dallas, TX, criminal defense lawyer can help you figure out what potential your case has and what level you are likely facing.

Where the Crime Was Committed

One of the first determinants is where the fraudulent activity occurred. If the theft transpired across state borders, involved interstate commerce, or occurred on federal land, then federal charges are likely. For example, federal jurisdiction would apply if you are an executive based in Dallas who embezzled funds electronically from the company’s bank account in New York.

On the other hand, if the crime occurred within Texas state boundaries with no interstate elements, Texas has jurisdiction, and state charges are probable.

Type of Victim

The nature of the victim also plays a key role in determining federal versus state prosecution. Under federal law, certain institutions fall under special protection. These include banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), credit unions insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF), and institutions that hold federal bank charters. Federal charges take precedence regardless of other factors if money is embezzled from any of these federally insured entities.

If your scenario is more about a federal government — for instance, if you are a Social Security Administration employee who stole beneficiary funds — then federal prosecution is very likely.

Amount Stolen

Generally, federal cases involve higher total dollar amounts in fraud loss. Federal embezzlement charges typically require a minimum loss for federal investigators and prosecutors to get involved, and this can vary on the amount. Texas prosecutes embezzlement cases under state Penal Code Section 32.45 regardless of the amount stolen.

Of course, exceptions exist when other determining factors override the amount. For example, a bank teller who embezzled only $500 could still face federal charges because the victim (the bank) is FDIC-insured. The total monetary value often acts as an initial trigger for federal versus state jurisdiction.

Defendant’s Position

The position held by the accused party can also guide jurisdiction. Under federal law, specific roles like bank officer, credit union officer, or public official may prompt federal charges regardless of other factors. Essentially, abusing these positions of public trust for personal illegal gain creates more scrutiny at the federal level. The type of victim (public institution, government agency, etc.) typically aligns with the defendant’s position in these cases.

Contact a Dallas, TX, Criminal Defense Attorney

Facing embezzlement charges can significantly impact the trajectory of your life. Working with an Irving, TX, criminal defense lawyer may help with the outcome. Call Spencer & Associates at 214-385-8500 for a free consultation.

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