What Is the Difference Between Misappropriation of Funds & Embezzlement?
Often confused, embezzlement and misappropriation of funds are two separate theft crimes. While both involve the unlawful use of another person’s assets (that the accused individual was given lawful access to), embezzlement is the theft of money and/or property that has been entrusted to an individual and used inappropriately for the benefit of someone other than the owner. Misappropriation of funds, on the other hand, solely involves the embezzlement of money. In some instances, people can be charged with both crimes.
Examples of Misappropriation of Funds
After being granted lawful access to someone else’s money, a person misappropriates funds when they use that money for personal gain. Consider this: A company executive is given control of the company and several clients’ funds to use for marketing and procurement. Instead of using the funds for the specified purposes, the executive pays off their credit card bills and personal travel expenses. This is considered a misappropriation of funds.
Another example would be an organization’s treasurer using donations made to the organization to purchase home décor for their own home.
Penalties for Misappropriation of Funds
Tennessee Code § 39-14-105 (the grading of theft) outlines the consequences for theft based on the value of the stolen services or property—or, in this case, funds.
A breakdown of what the obtained property or services is worth in relation to the level of offense is as follows:
- $1,000 or less is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 and/or imprisonment of up to 11 months and 29 days
- Between $1000-$2500 is a Class E felony, punishable by fines of up to $3,000 and/or imprisonment for 1-6 years
- Over $2500 but less than $10,000 is a Class D felony, punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for 2-12 years
- Over $10,000 but less than $60,000 is a Class C felony, punishable by 3-15 years of imprisonment and/or fines of up to $10,000
- Between $60,000 and $250,000 is a Class B felony, punishable by 8-30 years of imprisonment and/or fines of up $25,000
- Over $250,000 stolen is a Class A felony, punishable by 15-60 years of imprisonment and/or fines of up to $50,000
Why You Need to Contact Our Criminal Defense Attorneys
At Casey, Simmons & Bryant, PLLC, we make it our mission to help our clients through their difficulties. If you or someone you love has been charged with a theft crime, you can trust that our firm is equipped to handle your case.
As mentioned, you face serious consequences if convicted. Our attorneys can help you prepare a solid defense. Some of the common defenses against misappropriation of funds include:
- The accused didn’t intend to steal the funds.
- The owner of the money gave the accused permission to use the funds for their own personal agenda.
- The accused believed that they were the rightful owner of the funds.
- The accused has been wrongfully charged and indicted.
- The evidence against the accused is inadmissible or insufficient.
We understand what’s at risk—your freedom, rights, and reputation—and are prepared to aggressively fight for you. Each case and client is different, which is why we personalize our legal approach and care. Reach out to us via this online form or call (731) 256-0023.