White Collar Crime – Misappropriation

Misappropriation is a white collar criminal offense that is closely related to theft. Misappropriation is common in both private and public offices. Because of how much it affects private companies and government organizations, it has strict punishments.

Misappropriation is called a white-collar crime because it doesn’t involve any form of violence. Instead, it involves lying and devising for illegal financial gain.

If you or anyone you know has misappropriation charges, you don’t need to panic. All you need to do is to hire a professional financial criminal attorney quickly. Federal regulatory bodies need a lot of evidence to convict you of the crime.

When you hire a professional attorney, they can leverage the absence of solid evidence or work with every evidence to give you the best chance of having a favorable verdict.

What is Misappropriation?

In legal terms, misappropriation is using funds or property belonging to a person or a group of people without their consent or authorization. Misappropriation is common among public officials. They use public funds and property illegally for their personal use.

A person is charged with misappropriation only when they intentionally use the funds, property, identity, data, or assets without any rightful ownership. The act has to be intentional and not as a result of a mistake or misinformation. There are different situations of misappropriation. 

Some of the common types of  misappropriation that has strict punishment under federal laws include:

Misappropriation of Funds

Misappropriation of funds is the deliberate and illegal usage of another person’s fund to satisfy personal needs. For an accusation of misappropriation of funds, the money has to be legally placed in your care.

For example, if you hold a public office and your superiors assign a particular amount of money under your care for general purposes such as road construction. Instead of using the money for the original purpose, you use it to buy a property. That is a case of misappropriation of funds.

Misappropriation of funds is closely related to embezzlement, and most times, a person guilty of misappropriation is also charged with embezzlement. The only difference between the two theft crimes is that embezzlement involves spending money for personal use. 

Misappropriation of funds, on the other hand, involves using the money outside its initial purpose. It may be for personal use or not. However, you use the misappropriated funds mostly for private purposes, so misappropriation and embezzlement are similar charges.

Trade Secret Misappropriation

Trade secret misappropriation is a process whereby an individual illegally gains access to the trade secret of an establishment. The Individual may sell it to competitors or publish it.

This type of misappropriation involves violating the confidential agreement between employer and staff, business partners, or clients. Often, the perpetrator acquires intellectual property through blackmail, bribe, or theft.

Organizations sue individuals that have in any way violated confidentiality agreements. Trade secret misappropriation is a punishable offense under the US code.

Misappropriation of Assets

This criminal offense occurs when an individual is given access or custody to an asset and uses it illegally for personal use. An example is an estate executor using the properties trusted into his hands for his benefits instead of doing as instructed.

In businesses, misappropriation of assets can be the stealing or illegal use of a company’s equipment, such as computers, for personal use. Legally, an individual can be charged for misappropriation of assets if they misappropriate funds or trade secrets. That is because they are also assets.

Federal Laws for Misappropriation

Misappropriation is a criminal offense under state and federal laws. 18 U.S. Code § 1836(b)(1) covers the crime and gives owners of the trade secret legal rights to sue offenders in the federal court of law. 

However, a suspect must satisfy the following before conviction can take place:

  • The Individual intentionally misappropriated the funds, trade secret, or asset.
  • The fund owner or property placed it in the suspect’s care, and the suspect is not the original owner.
  • The misappropriated resources were used for personal purposes.
  • There is evidence and reports of the suspect illegally spending or making use of the misappropriated resources.

Punishment for Misappropriation

Punishment depends on the number of funds spent and the value of the asset. Also, it depends on if the offender is an individual or a group. Generally, Individual offenders can spend 1-10 years in prison. Organizations can pay up to $5 million- $10 million. The offender’s charges may be misdemeanor or felony.

Defense for Misappropriation Charges

Misappropriation is a severe criminal offense that may result in grievous punishments. If you have been charged with misappropriation, Zoukis Consulting Group can provide the kind of professional legal help you need to ensure the best possible outcome.

When it comes to misappropriation charges, we know how to build a solid case for our clients. Even if found guilty, our white-collar criminal defense attorneys may be able to help minimize your penalties.

Contact us today for a free consultation.