What is the Law on "Misappropriation of funds" in Hawaii and What are the Punishments for it?
The legal definition for “misappropriation of funds” is - the intentioned and illegal use of another’s funds to serve an unauthorized purpose or for one’s personal use. Such an offense may be committed by the trustee of a trust, the executor of a deceased individual’s estate, a public official or so on. Misappropriation of funds is a kind of theft. It refers to the embezzlement of money.
What grounds do prosecutors have to prove to bring about a charge of “misappropriation of funds”?
In order to legally prosecute for “misappropriation of funds”, the following must be proved –
- Intent – It has to be proved that the person committing the misappropriation did so in full awareness of his actions. If it happened by an error, it can’t be penalized as misappropriation. Also, the offender need not have taken the money. He/she can be charged as long as they attempted or intended to.
- Control – The person being charged with misappropriating funds must have been provided the authority over somebody’s fund/estate, but not given ownership of the same.
- Conversion – For an individual to be proven guilty of misappropriating funds, they must have used the stolen money/property for their agenda.
US Federal Punishments for the “misappropriation of funds”
The United States looks upon “misappropriation of funds” as a criminal offense. Some states of America observe such an offense to be both a felony and a misdemeanor. Depending on how misappropriation of funds is legally charged, an offender may have to serve significant jail time. Usually, the severity of the charge depends on the amount of money that has been embezzled. The possible punishments in the US for this crime are –
- Jail term – If the misappropriation has been charged as a misdemeanor, the offender can expect to serve up to a year in prison. If it has been charged as a felony, this time will get extended to more.
- Fine – A misdemeanor charge can warrant a fine of $1000 which may go up to as much as $10,000 if it is a felony.
- Probation – Some states in the US may let off an offender on probation for misappropriating funds. However, other states may not have such a provision in place.
- Restitution – If proven guilty of misappropriating funds, you may have to pay restitution to compensate the victim. However, this has no bearing on the fee that you may be fined.
“Misappropriation of funds” criminal charges in Hawaii
Hawaii penalized “misappropriation of funds” as theft. The punishment for theft usually depends on the value of the stolen goods. Punishment is doled out in four degrees at which the severity of the theft is measured. Theft in the fourth degree is considered a petty misdemeanor and punished with a maximum fine amount of $1000 or jail sentencing not exceeding 30 days. Theft in the third degree is treated as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a maximum of $2000 as fine and a maximum jail sentence of a year.
Theft in the second degree is charged as class C felony. A class C felony warrants a jail time of a maximum of 5 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Lastly, Hawaii looks upon first-degree theft as a Class B felony which could have the offender serve jail time of up to 10 years or be fined as much as $25,000. The grounds for judging the seriousness of theft in Hawaii is listed in Hawaii Law Statutes 706, and the punishments for each described in Statutes 708 of the same.