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What is the Law on "Misappropriation of Funds" in New York and What are the Punishments for it?

Misappropriation of funds is when a person uses money that is entrusted to him/her by the owner for his own purposes. Misappropriation refers to the embezzlement of money only. An example of misappropriation is when the treasurer of a club takes funds for the club and puts them into his/her own bank account. When this happens, the treasurer has engaged in both embezzlement as well and as misappropriation.

In order to understand what misappropriation of funds is, it’s important to know what embezzlement is. Embezzlement in New York is defined as illegally procuring property or money either through theft or through force with the intent of depriving the owner of said property or funds of that money. Embezzlement happens when the owner doesn’t give a person permission to do the above. The New York PL Article 155.00 perpetrates embezzlement crimes.

What are the Punishments for Misappropriation of Funds?

Under PL 155.00, embezzlement is one of the ways in which the crime of larceny may be committed. Being convicted of the lowest level of embezzlement attracts a penalty of up to 1 1/3rd to 4 years in prison and no incarceration. A prior felony conviction in the last 10 years can raise your sentence up to 2 to 4 years.

Severe cases of embezzlement are convicted under Grand Larceny in the First Degree PL 155.42. It is punishable by a sentence of 8 1/3 years to 25 years in prison. This sentence can be raised to 12 ½  till 25 years if the person has been convicted of a felony in the last 10 years.

New York Misappropriation of Funds Law
Is there a Statute of Limitations for Embezzlement?

The statute of limitations for an embezzlement-related crime can range from 2 to 5 years. It is affected by the facts. Felonies usually have five-year limitations while misdemeanor crimes have two-year statutes.

Almost all situations involve the statute of limitations being 5 years because of the fact that many embezzlement arrests involve thefts and Grand Larceny beyond $1,000. It’s important to know that the date of importance for the statute of limitations purposes isn’t the date a person is accused of starting. Instead, it is when the embezzlement or ongoing action has ceased.

How does the state prove Misappropriation of Funds?

There are many cases where defendants have been framed by colleagues. In fact, when money goes missing, some people are abused because they are the most convenient suspect. Prosecutors need to prove three things when convicting a person of misappropriation.

  • The defendant and the victim had a relationship which was fiduciary in nature.
  • The relationship was used by the defendant to gain access to money.
  • The defendant didn’t have the owner’s permission when he/she took the money.

A common argument against misappropriation is that the plaintiff had given the defendant permission to use the money for a purpose. This leaves the defendant innocent if the defendant can prove that he/she used the money for its intended purpose.

Difference between Embezzlement and Misappropriation

Embezzlement is misappropriation in situations where funds have been entrusted to the embezzler lawfully.

It’s critical to get a good criminal defense lawyer as a good lawyer may be able to cast reasonable doubt on the evidence presented by the prosecution. Sometimes, people are accused of misappropriation due to a simple clerical error. If you ever find yourself accused of misappropriation, the first thing you should do is find a qualified criminal defense lawyer with years of experience. This will put you in a good position to have the charges dropped or the penalty reduced.


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