Breach of Trust in South Carolina
Breach of trust is a charge where you are in lawful possession of another person’s property but then take it for your own benefit.
Hi, my name is Dale Savage and I’m a criminal defense attorney here in Charleston, SC. Today we’re taking about BOT charges.
What’s the Law?
To establish BOT the prosecutor must show that you had:
- Lawful possession of another person’s property;
- That property was entrusted to you by the owner or their agent;
- You converted the property for your own use;
- With the Intent to deprive the owner of possession; or
- Hiring or counseling another to do it.
- Less than $2K 0-30 days $1,000 fine (M)
- $2K-$10K 0-5 yrs. (F) fine in discretion of court
- More than $10K 0-10 yrs. (F) fine in discretion of court
What is Entrusted?
What does it mean for you to be entrusted with another person’s property? This means that you had permission by the owner of the property to be in possession of it. Essentially you did not steal it, you had the owner’s consent to be in possession of the property and you were supposed to act for the benefit of the owner of that property.
This scenario typically arises in the workplace were someone is lawfully in charge of property, goods or money from the business such as cash or the checking account and they take that money and use it for their own benefit.
I’ve seen this in cases for people working in an accounting division of a business where the person was diverting money for their own use for years until there was an accounting audit that discovered the crime. That’s how the amount converted can add up to can add up to a large sum without the business own realizing what was happening.
This isn’t just limited to private businesses, I’ve seen cases where employees of government offices such as a police department was taking money and using it to pay their mortgage, clothing, vacations, etc.
If I Pay it Back – Case Dismissed?
It doesn’t matter if you get caught and agree to pay all the money back, the crime has been committed. That doesn’t mean that paying money back won’t help in mitigation when it comes to sentencing by the court, but it does not mean the case gets dismissed.
When defending these cases, it’s important that you challenge the evidence establishing the trust relationship and whether it was you that actually converted the property, a mere hunch or suspicion should not be enough.
Charleston, SC Criminal Defense Attorney
If have been charged with BEMV and want to discuss your options, please call me at (843) 530-7813. I hope this video was helpful and thanks for watching.