What Is the Law on Misappropriation of Funds in Louisiana and What Are the Penalties for It?
Misappropriation is a term used to describe the act of unauthorized use of a person’s likeness or property. Misappropriation of Funds is the act of illegally using another person’s property, without authorization, for one’s own personal benefit.
In simple words, Misappropriation of Funds takes place when a person hands over his property to another, and this property is taken and misused for personal gain.
Theft and Misappropriation of Funds are two acts that draw a parallel. Both acts have similar underlying meaning but differ with regards to execution and circumstance. Theft is when a person steals property that is under another person’s possession. On the other hand, when a person hands over their property to someone, for caretaking or other purposes, and this property is then stolen, it amounts to misappropriation.
The basic distinction between the two crimes is the element of trust. For instance, a thief need not know the victim personally, neither would the victim have handed over their belongings to the thief. Additionally, theft can include violent outcomes as well. When it comes to misappropriation, the property is handed over in good faith. The person who steals this property does so with malicious intent and with the knowledge that they are deceiving the property owner. The basic element of trust is violated, making this crime different than that of theft.
Here, the property does not have to mean any physical location or building. The property simply means something of value that is in a person’s possession. When we talk strictly about misappropriation of funds, this property is monetary.
Examples of misappropriation of funds include – employees stealing from their employers, credit card fraud, forged invoices, trustee stealing from a trust fund for his personal use, fake inventory costs and so on.
Misappropriation of Funds in Louisiana
In the State of Louisiana, misappropriation of funds is called embezzlement. When a person provides legal access to their property, for the purpose of management or caretaking, and this property is stolen or taken up for criminal conversion, it amounts to embezzlement.
The crime of embezzlement can be tried at both the state as well as the federal level. A case is taken up to the federal authority only when a federal entity is involved. Any agency of the government can be called a federal entity.
For a white-collar conviction, the amount was stolen, and the defendant’s prior history play a role in determining the penalties for the crime. In Louisiana, embezzlement is treated as theft by misappropriation without violence.
Penalties for the crime of embezzlement in the State of Louisiana are as follows –
- If the person embezzles USD 25,000 or more, they will have to serve a prison term that can range between five to twenty years. They will also have to pay a fine of up to USD 50,000.
- If a person embezzles an amount between USD 5,000 and USD 25,000, they will have to serve a prison term of up to ten years. An additional fine of USD 10,000 will also be levied.
- If a person embezzles an amount between USD 750 and USD 5000, they will be charged with a felony and will have to serve up to five years in prison. They will also have to pay a fine of up to USD 1000.
- The person will be charged with a misdemeanor if less than USD 750 is embezzled. They may have to face up to six months in prison, with the payment of a USD 1000 fine.
- A person charged at a federal level will be tried based on the amount stolen. The penalty is harsher for a public official. If the value of property stolen exceeds USD 1000, the person could have up to ten years in prison.