Defalcation Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Defalcation, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Defalcation?

v. Latin meaning “deduction.” Defalcations are funds which are withheld or misappropriated by public officials for another.

History and Meaning of Defalcation

The term "defalcation" is derived from the Latin word "defalcare," meaning to deduct or withhold. In a legal context, defalcation refers to the misappropriation or mishandling of funds by a public official. This can include embezzlement or the failure to properly account for funds.

Defalcation has been used in legal circles for centuries, and is commonly used in cases involving government employees or officials who have violated their fiduciary duties. The term is often associated with financial crimes, and can carry serious legal consequences such as fines, imprisonment, and the forfeiture of assets.

Examples of Defalcation

  1. A city treasurer is accused of defalcation after it was discovered that he embezzled funds from the city's coffers.

  2. A state official is under investigation for defalcation after it was found that he misused public funds to pay for personal expenses.

  3. A public school district is in turmoil after a former employee was found guilty of defalcation, having stolen funds from the district's budget.

Legal Terms Similar to Defalcation

  1. Embezzlement - the fraudulent misappropriation of funds by a person entrusted with them.

  2. Fiduciary duty - a legal obligation to act in the best interests of another party, often used in the context of financial and business relationships.

  3. Misappropriation - the illegal use of funds, often used in the context of securities fraud and insider trading cases.