It is common for attorneys in South Carolina to handle misappropriation of funds cases regularly. As it is a serious crime, it is crucial to know about this type of offense and the type of penalties which come with it.
Misappropriation of funds – What is the legal definition?
Every person in the state of South Carolina should know the meaning of misappropriation of funds. It is a crime where the offender uses the money belonging to another individual for personal purposes.
The owner of the amount entrusted this individual to handle the funds. However, the person breached the trust, due to which he/she will face significant punishment for breaking the law.
For example, the clerk of the petrol station is responsible for depositing the cash in the bank generated by the establishment every day. However, this employee decides to use a small amount of gambling. As this person doesn’t have the authorization from the legal owner, it is an illegal transaction. The result is that the establishment can file misappropriation of funds against this employee for his/her actions.
Also, it is important to keep in mind that embezzlement while similar to this offense, is for a property. Misappropriation of funds is only for money and nothing else.
Punishments in the state of South Carolina for misappropriation of funds
First, the prosecutors in the court of South Carolina must prove that the defendant is responsible for committing the crime. They should bring to the attention of the judge or jury that the owner of the fund is the one who gave the accused control over the amount.
The prosecutors should show that the defendant had the intention of committing the crime, despite knowing it is an offense in the state of South Carolina. For it to become misappropriation of funds, the accused should use it for personal purposes. However, the court may only look at the fact that the defendant transferred the amount into his/her personal account as evidence for this crime.
It is important to note that the court won’t consider the fact that the accused wanted to return the amount to the legal owner. Any unauthorized transaction becomes a misappropriation of funds when the defendant isn’t the rightful owner of the money.
The severity of the penalty depends on the amount stolen by the offender. For instance, if the guilty party takes $1,000 or less from the legal owner, it becomes a misdemeanor in the state. The punishment for this type of crime in South Carolina is a fine which can reach up to $500 and/or 30 days of jail time.
When the amount the offender takes is over $1,000 but lower than $5,000, it becomes a felony. As a result, the penalty for this crime increases exponentially. In this case, the guilty party has to pay a fine which the court will decide. The individual may also have to spend a maximum of five years in jail for this offense.
If the amount taken is more than $5,000 then it is also a felony in the eyes of South Carolina’s laws. The court will ask to pay a specific fine depending on the money stolen, along with a jail sentence which can last a maximum of 10 years.
However, if the guilty party has two or more convictions which are a serious offense, the sentence for the crime changes drastically. In this case, the court has the right to order the defendant to a life sentence, without the chance of getting parole.
Misappropriation of funds is an offense which requires professional help. If you want the best advice regarding this type of crime, you should get in touch with criminal lawyers. Due to their knowledge of local laws and courts, you will receive the best help from them.