What Is the Law on Misappropriation of Funds in Illinois and What Are the Punishments for It?
Misappropriation of Funds is an act by which a person makes fraudulent use of another’s property without authorization. When a person illegally takes the property of another for his own personal use, it amounts to theft. The basic difference between theft and misappropriation of funds is the element of trust. In theft, the property is stolen from the possession of another. Whereas, in misappropriation of funds, the property needs to have been handed over to another person with a knowledge of such transfer. When this property is stolen and made use of, it amounts to misappropriation. The purpose of taking this property should be unauthorized and must have been done with malicious intent.
The crime of misappropriation carries bigger consequences as it implies a pre-meditated knowledge of the element of trust. When a person, who is in the position of making use of such property, misuses it for the personal gain, the faith is destroyed. When we consider the gravity of the crime in the scope of public interest, it destroys the faith in the system. When a public official uses the amount handed over by the people, for purposes not intended by such transfer, it constitutes greater injustice.
Examples of Misappropriation of Funds include – an employee stealing from the employer, a financial advisor stealing from investors for personal use, a public official making use of public funds for personal gain, false expense reports, issuance of forged documents and so on.
The person who is in possession of the property would have to legally hand over the property to another, either partially or wholly, with authorization, for specific intents or purposes. The property does not imply land or buildings alone. Here, property can be used to define anything of value that is in the possession of a person.
Misappropriation of Funds in Illinois
In the State of Illinois, Misappropriation of Funds is termed as embezzlement. Embezzlement is an umbrella term that constitutes misappropriation of property of any kind. Misappropriation of Funds falls under the crime of embezzlement and is considered to be a serious offense in the State of Illinois. As it is a white-collar crime, the penalties for the crime are stringent and could result in several missed opportunities in the future. Here is a list of penalties for the crime of embezzlement –
- If the value of the property stolen is of a value above USD 1,000,000, it would amount to a serious Class X Felony. The person will have to serve a prison sentence that can range between 6 to 30 years.
- If the value of the property stolen is more than USD 500,000 but less than USD 1,000,000, it would be considered as a Class 1 offense, with no probation. The person can be punished with a prison sentence that ranges from 4 to 15 years. A fine of USD 25,000 will also be levied towards the offense.
- If the person steals property has a value of more than USD 100,000, but less than USD 500,000, it would amount to a Class 1 Felony. The person will have to serve 4 to 15 years in prison, in addition to the payment of a USD 25,000 fine.
- If the value of the stolen property was more than USD 10,000 but less than USD 100,000, the crime is considered as a Class 2 Felony. The embezzler will have to serve a prison sentence that can range between 2 to 5 years.
- If the person has embezzled property the value of which is less than USD 500, it amounts to a Class A Misdemeanor. The person will have to serve a prison term of up to one year in addition to the payment of a USD 2,500 fine.