HOW IS MISAPPLICATION OF ENTRUSTED FUNDS DEFINED IN PENNSYLVANIA?

Section 4113 of the Crimes Code applies under these circumstances:

  • The disposition of property entrusted to a person as a “fiduciary”;
  • The disposition of property of the government;
  • The disposition of property of a financial institution.

It’s a crime when one “applies or disposes” of property under these circumstance “in a manner which he knows is unlawful and involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted.”

HOW SERIOUS IS THIS CRIME?

Generally, misapplication of entrusted funds is graded as a third-degree misdemeanor unless the amount involved exceeds $50, which in that case it’s graded as a second-degree misdemeanor.

WHAT ARE THE DEFENSES TO THIS CRIME?

Generally speaking “ignorance of the law” (or mistake of law) is not a defense. However, in light of the statutory language of Section 4113, requiring the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused applied or disposed of property “in a manner which he knows is unlawful,” this crime is one of the rare cases where a mistake-of-law defense may apply.

WHAT IS THE STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS?

A prosecution for misapplication of entrusted funds must be commenced within two years after it is committed.

 

If you or a loved one is charged with misapplication of entrusted funds, call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney, Ryan H. James, who has tried and argued these cases with successful results.  Attorney James can be personally reached at 412-977-1827, or by e-mail at ryan@rhjameslaw.com