Misappropriation Definition and Legal Meaning

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

What is Misappropriation?

(n) Misappropriation is the wrong application or utilization of funds allocated for any specific purposes, by illegally diverting the money, forging the documents or otherwise misleading the beneficiaries and owners of the fund. Misappropriation is a felony crime punishable by imprisonment

History and Meaning of Misappropriation

Misappropriation is a legal term that refers to the unlawful use of funds that were assigned for a particular purpose. This may include illegally diverting funds, falsifying accounts or documents, or deceiving the rightful owners of the funds. Misappropriation is commonly associated with white-collar crimes, such as embezzlement, fraud, and other financial offenses.

The term is believed to have originated from the Latin word "appropriare," which means "to make one's own." Misappropriation typically involves taking something that belongs to someone else and using it for personal gain or benefit. In legal contexts, misappropriation is viewed as a serious offense and can result in severe legal consequences.

Examples of Misappropriation

  1. A company's accountant embezzles money from the company's pension fund and directs the funds into a personal account.

  2. A contractor takes funds allocated for the construction of a building and uses them for personal expenses instead of completing the construction.

  3. An individual falsifies a grant proposal and uses grant funds for personal use instead of carrying out the original purpose for which the grant was awarded.

  4. A trustee of a trust diverts funds from the trust's beneficiaries for their own personal use.

Legal Terms Similar to Misappropriation

  1. Fraud - A deliberate deception made for personal gain or to cause injury to another party.

  2. Embezzlement - The fraudulent conversion of another's property by one who is in possession of it due to a position of trust or responsibility.

  3. Theft - The act of taking someone else's property without their permission or consent.