It's stressful whenever someone is charged with embezzlement. The charges surrounding embezzlement can be complex, and a conviction can result in harsh penalties.
That is the situation some employees at the University of Missouri find themselves in. The school's police department is currently investigating the possibility of misappropriated funds from some student organization accounts. The investigation began after an employee reported suspicious activity.
The school hasn't released a lot of information about the specifics of the case. We do know, however, that the accounts in question are affiliated with the Office of Greek Life.
In order for an action to be considered embezzlement, there are four factors that typically need to be present:
- Someone must have deliberately tried to take the money from the other party
- The two parties must have a fiduciary relationship with each other, meaning one party is reliant on the other
- The accused must have either taken control of the other party's property or transferred ownership of the property to someone else
- The property was acquired as a result of the two parties' relationship
If convicted of an embezzlement charge, the penalties can be severe in Missouri. The punishment is based on the total amount of money that was embezzled.
- $500 or less: Up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000
- $500-$25,000: Up to seven years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000
- Over $25,000: Up to 15 years in prison and a maximum fine of $20,000
These are serious penalties, and it's possible an embezzlement charge could become a federal crime. Anyone accused of a white collar crime, including embezzlement, should consider what legal options are available to them.