What is the Law on "Misappropriation of funds" in Mississippi and What are the Punishments for it?
“Misappropriation of funds” is a legally punishable criminal offense. It is considered as one of the kinds of theft. Both U.S. federal and state constitutions have laws in place to condemn and punish individuals found guilty of the same.
Misappropriation of funds is generally classified as a misdemeanor or felony. In some states, the kind of misappropriation engaged in determines the sentencing rather than the value of funds misappropriated, which is usually the case.
Example - Most states look upon federal embezzlement by a person in public office as a felony. A felony charge warrants more jail time and a higher fine than a misdemeanor charge. Since states have their own rules and laws, some allow offenders to serve probation, while others do not. Similarly, the guilty may have to pay restitution to the injured party in certain states while only the fine is applicable in others.
What are the grounds on which “misappropriation of funds” is proved?
Misappropriation of funds is applicable as the relevant criminal charge if the following can be proven true.
- The accused was permitted to govern over the injured party’s funds but not given possession of it.
- The accused was aware of the illegality of his/her actions at the time of the crime and did not do it by error.
- The accused acted in accordance with the intention to embezzle money from the victim. He/she may have transferred the defendant’s funds to their own personal account and so on. The prosecutor does not need to provide evidence of any purchase by the accused using this embezzled money. Simply, their action of transferring the money is enough to find him guilty.
Additionally, it does not matter to the Court whether the accused intended to or has returned the funds misappropriated. As long as they participated in the embezzlement, criminal proceedings can go on against them.
How is the misappropriation of funds punished in Mississippi?
Mississippi Code Title 97, Statute 97-23-19 lists the law against and the punishments permissible for embezzlement. If the embezzled fund is valued at less than $1,000, then the offense is charged as a misdemeanor which can cause the guilty to a jail term lasting up to 6 months and a fine of as much as one thousand dollars. Mississippi has the provision for probation and the guilty may be ordered to serve probation for the same amount of time instead of serving a jail sentence. If the guilty individual has two previous charges of a similar nature against them, their punishment would be more severe – the jail term ordered could last up to 3 years and the fine would hike up to $2,000.
If the fund embezzled is worth more than one thousand dollars but less than five thousand dollars, the offense is categorized as a felony. The fine for such a charge would go up to $5,000 and the jail term – a maximum of 5 years. If the value of the embezzlement exceeds five thousand dollars, then the person could be subject to a prison sentence not exceeding 10 years and a fine not exceeding $25,000. If the embezzlement amounts to more than twenty-five thousand dollars, then the fine charged from the convict remains the same. The jail term, however, shoots up to 20 years.
It is important that one knows about the legal restrictions in place at their current state of residence. Mississippi considers embezzlement as a serious legal offense which could subject the guilty to a jail term of up to two decades. Why find yourself in such a situation, when you can learn about the laws and prevent yourself from getting caught misappropriating funds?