Misappropriation of Funds

Organizations, small businesses, and large corporations alike all have the responsibility of managing internal funds. To ensure that this demand is met, they hire individuals to manage the company’s finances. These individuals often operate under the title of treasurer and finance manager among others. When the people in these positions use the funds they were entrusted to manage for personal use, they’ve committed misappropriation of funds and face severe criminal penalties.

Those accused of this crime should get in contact with a seasoned criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The Orlando theft attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm have over 100 years of combined experience and are former prosecutors at either the state or local level. We can use our insight to help negotiate terms to have charges lessened or even dismissed if possible.

What is Misappropriation of Funds?

While similar to embezzlement, misappropriation of funds focuses on the theft of money rather than property. For example, an individual who works at a recording studio and stays after hours to use the equipment to record a personal mixtape has committed embezzlement. On the other hand, an individual responsible for the studio’s finances who uses a portion of it to pay his rent has committed misappropriation of funds. Both are theft crimes, but the associated penalties may vary.

Proving Misappropriation of Funds in Court

Being charged with misappropriation of funds is only the beginning of the legal battle. If you choose to take the case to trial, the State will have to prove the following to be true:

  • Control: You had rightful possession but not ownership over the funds. An example of this would be if you were appointed as treasurer for an organization.
  • Intent: You knowingly misappropriated the money and did not just make a mistake. The prosecution does not necessarily have to show that you intended to physically dispossess the finances but can assert that actions you took would’ve led to misappropriation.
  • Conversion: You did not just take the money but you also used it for personal benefit. This, however, does not require that you spend the money as merely withholding the finances from public record and transferring it into your private account justifies misappropriation of funds charges.

People often believe that having the intent to pay back or otherwise return the money exonerates them from prosecution. That is false. No matter how long you dispossessed the finances or your intentions to repay it, you may still be found guilty of misappropriation of funds.

man sliding stack of cash on desk

Penalties for Misappropriation of Funds in Florida

The penalties for misappropriation of funds vary depending on how the State chooses to charge the crime and the specifics of the incidents. Another determining factor is the amount of money allegedly misappropriated. Such details can be the difference between someone facing misdemeanor or felony charges.

Florida also has strict penalties for when the individual misappropriating the funds is a public servant. Per Florida Statute § 838.022:

“It is unlawful for a public servant or public contractor, to knowingly and intentionally obtain a benefit for any person or to cause unlawful harm to another.”

An individual found guilty of doing so can be charged with official misconduct, a third-degree felony punishable by up to 5 years in prison. This is just one of the many charges an individual accused of misappropriating funds may face.  To protect yourself from being prosecuted for multiple theft charges, it’s essential that you seek legal representation.

Seasoned Orlando Theft Attorneys

The Orlando theft attorneys at The Umansky Law Firm are knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers with experience defending against theft charges. It is not unlikely for the State to charge individuals with multiple theft crimes in an attempt to maximize the required sentence. Our job is to refute all presented charges to help ensure that your best interests are protected. Contact us today at 407-228-3838 for a free case evaluation and discuss your legal options with an experienced ex-prosecutor.