What Is the Law on Misappropriation of Funds in Missouri and What Are the Punishments for It?
In the State of Missouri, it is common for people to commit Misappropriation of Funds. Also known as a white-collar crime, it comes with serious offenses when finding guilty.
Misappropriation of Funds – Legal Definition
What is the meaning of misappropriation of funds is the first thing that will come to your mind. As per the legal definition, it is the illegitimate use of funds of another individual for personal use.
One example of misappropriation of funds is when an employee of a company decides to use the organization’s credit card to pay for his/her house renovation. As this individual isn’t the rightful owner of the fund, the business will press charges for committing this crime.
However, most people tend to confuse embezzlement and misappropriation of funds, as they are similar. The former refers to the theft of any type of property, which doesn’t belong to the individual committing the crime. However, the legal owner trusted this person to handle the property, which makes it embezzlement. When it comes to misappropriation of funds, it only involves money, not every type of asset.
Punishment for Committing Misappropriation of Funds
The penalty for committing this crime depends on the amount stolen from the lawful owner. As per the State of Missouri, the lowest offense is Class A Misdemeanor, which is when the individual makes less than $500. The punishment under this category is a fine of $1000, along with a maximum jail sentence of one year.
When the guilty party takes more than $500, but less than $25,000 it falls under a Class C Felony. For the State of Missouri, the fine is $5,000, along with a jail sentence which can reach a maximum of seven years.
If the amount stolen is greater than $25,000, then it is a Class B Felony. In this situation, the judge can order a maximum fine of $20,000. The jail time for this crime can extend to 15 years.
Proving Misappropriation of Funds
Every attorney will attempt to show that the accused is responsible for handling money for the legal owner. In other words, the plaintiff and the defendant have to have a fiduciary relationship.
It is crucial to establish this bond between the two parties, as not everyone in charge of handling money has a fiduciary relationship. An example would be your financial advisor taking advantage of your goodwill, despite being his/her client.
After establishing the relationship between the defendant and plaintiff, the prosecutor will show the accused gain access because of this bond. It is crucial for the accused to transfer the stolen amount to his/her personal account.
One of the most important aspects of misappropriation of funds is that the accused committed the crime on purpose. If the defendant got the funds by mistake, then it doesn’t fall under this category. There should be intent in the accused, which is why he/she decided to commit the crime.
According to the rules on the Law on Misappropriation of Funds in Missouri, the court will find the individual guilty of committing the crime despite the following action. The individual had the intention of returning the stolen amount to the legal owner. However, the court won’t take this into consideration, as it still falls under Misappropriation of Funds. Also, the duration for which the accused kept the amount with himself/herself doesn’t play a factor.
When facing charges for Misappropriation of Funds, knowing the law is crucial. It is one major reason why you should get in touch with professional criminal defense attorneys. As they are familiar with your state, they will be in the best position to help you out.