Do you handle one or more financial aspects of an organization for your Texas employer? If so, you may become the focus of an embezzlement investigation if an audit indicates fraud.
According to the American Bar Association, forensic accountants solve compliance puzzles by untangling accounting issues that may be errors or fraud. Embezzlement is a type of fraud that includes the misappropriation of money.
Auditors must be very careful when examining the books. Even if you do not record transactions according to the Principle of Accounting, related errors may be unintentional. Small businesses and non-profits often operate with employers and employees acting like a family. Fraud can happen when policies and procedures become lax, and security is light due to these relationships. Investigators keep this and other elements in mind when conducting their audits.
Prosecutors must prove several components for a fraud conviction:
- You took money or goods
- You took the organization’s property without the employer’s consent
- You took the property with intent to deprive the organization of it
If your duties include control over certain accounts, cash or other property, the prosecutor must prove your theft intent.
Consequences of fraud
Clerical errors and disorganized bookkeeping often lead to financial consequences for the organization. Casual accounting policies, lack of expertise and poorly defined job parameters can make a mistake seem embezzlement. Although sloppy accounting practices may result in issues with your employer, you might go to prison if a court finds you guilty of fraud. Understanding your rights can help you defend your actions and protect your career.