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

Long-term embezzlement scams can result in a staggering amount of funds being accumulated. Misappropriation of funds doesn’t always operate on a large scale. It can even involve smaller amounts of money. Misappropriation of funds is arguably a more serious crime when small businesses are involved because of the impact it can have on these businesses. Small businesses don’t often have large margins which mean that each dollar that goes missing can put the business in a tough position.

Before talking about misappropriation of funds, it’s important to know what misappropriation of funds as well as embezzlement means and whether there is any difference between the two.

What does Misappropriation of Funds mean?

Misappropriation of funds refers to the intentional as well as the illegal use of funds which another person owns for a purpose which is unauthorized by the owner. Misappropriation of funds can be a felony punishable by a prison sentence depending on the amount of money as well as the jurisdiction.

What is Embezzlement?

Embezzlement refers to holding onto assets in order to steal those assets. Embezzlement is a statutory offense in the United States. The circumstances surrounding each case of embezzlement can make it a crime under federal law, state law or both. Embezzlement usually refers to criminal cases where the property of another person is fraudulently converted. Embezzlement can refer to the illegal use of funds too.

North Carolina Misappropriation of Funds Law
Misappropriation of Funds charges in North Carolina

As already mentioned, misappropriation refers to taking money which belongs to someone else. This results in the person or business being deprived of those funds. Misappropriation doesn’t require that the money needs to be obtained illegally in order to be considered a crime.

An example of this is when a bank teller is given money at his/her window. The teller is legally entrusted with the money that the customer gives to him/her. A teller who takes the money for personal use has committed a crime of misappropriation.

Misappropriation in North Carolina depends on the value of the funds misappropriated as well as the relationship of the criminal to the true owner.

  • Agents of a corporation, employees, clerks and so on -If the value misappropriated is $100,000 or more, the crime is classified as a Class C felony. Misappropriated funds of less than $100,000 are classified as a Class H felony.
  • Treasurers of charitable organizations – If the value misappropriated is less than $100,000, the crime is classified as a Class H felony. Misappropriated funds of $100,000 or more are classified as a Class C felony.
  • Officers of the railroad – Misappropriated funds of $100,000 or more are classified as a Class C felony while misappropriated funds of less than $100,00 are classified as a Class H felony.
  • City and state government workers as well as public officials – Similar to the above, if the misappropriated funds are in excess of $100,000, the crime is classified as a Class C felony while misappropriated funds of less than $100,000 are classified as a Class F felony.

Federal embezzlement charges refer to the embezzlement of government funds by a government employee directly or the embezzlement of government funds indirectly. If the embezzled amount is in excess of $1,000, the punishments can be a fine of $250,000 as well as up to 10 years in prison. If the amount is less than $1,000, the punishments can be a fine of $100,000 and a year in prison.

The most important thing to do when accused of misappropriation of funds or embezzlement is to contact a lawyer who is qualified and has years of experience as soon as possible.

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