Can trustee be charged with a crime for embezzlement?

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Can trustee be charged with a crime for embezzlement?

Can trustee be charged with a crime for
embezzlement? If trustee, who is a beneficiary, used
funds for personal use, but not more than his total
share of the estate, prior to full dispersement is that
a crime?

Asked on October 7, 2018 under Estate Planning, Oregon

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If he did not use more than he would receive once the estate was distributed, it would most likely not be a crime, because if he kept the funds he used or took to those he reasonably expected to receive, he would lack the requisite criminal intent (i.e. the intent to take money he knew was not his) to have committed a crime. Intent is what separates crimes from non-crimes. Driving carelessly and hitting someone gets you sued but not jailed, for example, because you did not intend to hurt them; deliberately running a person down gets you jailed.


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