Misappropriation of Funds in Alaska and what are the Punishments for it?
Misappropriation, in itself, means the unauthorized and fraudulent use of a property that does not belong to you. When a person entrusts another with his property, he does so in good faith. When such property is stolen or withdrawn or made use of for illegal purposes, it amounts to misappropriation of funds.
What is a misappropriation of funds?
Misappropriation can mean a variety of things in the scope of criminal law. Misappropriation of funds, in particular, would mean the illegal use of another person’s funds or assets, without the knowledge of the owner. The purpose of such illegal use would have to be unauthorized. The person who is misappropriating such funds would most likely use the amount for their own benefit without the intention of returning it back to the rightful owner. Also, the owner would have given access to such amount in good faith, but not for the reasons that lead to the misappropriation of such funds.
Property in this scenario does not imply land. Here, property is something that holds value and exists in the possession of a person. When it comes to misappropriation of funds, the said property must be in the form of money. If money was handed over to another with trust and said money was used by the other deceivingly for his own gain, it amounts to misappropriation of funds.
Examples of misappropriation of funds would include- a financial advisor who fraudulently uses the money that was entrusted to him for his own personal use. Similarly, if a trustee withdraws the money from a trust, without the knowledge of other members, it would amount to misappropriation of funds.
The primary difference between theft and misappropriation of funds is the element of knowledge. If the money was handed over to the other person with the knowledge and confidence of the owner, and this money was used for a fraudulent purpose, it constitutes misappropriation of funds. Theft, on the other hand, does not require the owner to knowingly hand over the money to another person.
Misappropriation of funds in Alaska
In the state of Alaska, misappropriation of funds is termed as embezzlement. It is considered to be a white-collar crime that typically takes place in business settings. White-collar crimes are regarded to be very serious in nature and they are met with stringent punishment. White-collar crimes are those that are motivated by financial needs and are non-violent in nature. This may include theft of monetary property, stealing inventory or even falsifying invoices. Credit card fraud is another common form of embezzlement that is rampant across the country.
Here are the punishments for misappropriation of funds in Alaska –
- As per the AK Statute 11.46.210 (2017), misappropriation of funds is equivalent to embezzlement. If the stolen property sums up to value above USD 500, it is considered to be a Class B misdemeanor. A conviction for the offense can lead to a prison sentence of up to 90 days. The embezzler can also face a fine of up to USD 2000.
- If the value of the monetary property falls in between the range of USD 500 and USD 25,000, it accounts for a Class C felony. Since the amount is larger, the repercussions are equally more severe. The convicted person could face a prison term of up to five years.
Misappropriation of funds is evil on its own. Here, considering that the embezzler commits theft against people who have entrusted their property to him, accounts for the severe nature of the crime. Even if the embezzler is committing fraud in lieu of financial aid, the intent and motive for the crime are not considered by courts. The crime of embezzlement also finds very few defenses.