A Texas couple was recently arrested for allegedly embezzling millions of dollars from retirement accounts. Charged with wire fraud, identity theft, conspiracy and more, both individuals could face potentially severe consequences. When decades of jail time is on the line, careful criminal defense planning is essential.

The 53-year-old husband and 58-year-old wife jointly owned Vantage Benefits Administrators. Their company provided third-party management for a variety of retirement accounts, including 401(k)s. The criminal charges involve the embezzling of funds from approximately 1,000 of the accounts they were supposed to be managing. It is unclear if this is all of their accounts or only a portion.

According to authorities, the wife made multiple fraudulent distribution requests while posing as account beneficiaries. She then deposited the money into the operating accounts at Vantage, which the couple supposedly used to cover business expenses, such as payroll and general operating costs. They also may have used the money for personal expenses, including home decor, farming equipment and escrow payments. In total, they are accused of embezzling over $14 million.

If convicted, each accused individual could each face as many as 81 years in prison. For most defendants in such situations, minimizing the consequences of these types of charges is essential. Some people in Texas choose to conduct their criminal defense planning under careful guidance of an experienced attorney, who can usually provide deeper insight into complicated topics. This can help confused defendants determine whether they should pursue a plea deal or fight the charges to their fullest extent.