South Carolina Code § 16-13-230: Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent
Breach of trust with fraudulent intent is covered under South Carolina Criminal Code § 16-13-230.
This offense is South Carolina’s version of Embezzlement and can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the property taken.
This offense occurs when a person, who is trusted with managing another person’s property, steals or takes the property for their own personal use.
Certain elements must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt before a person can be convicted of a criminal offense. In order to be convicted of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, the elements generally include the following:
- A fiduciary relationship exists between the Defendant and alleged victim
- The alleged victim entrusted assets into the Defendant’s possession
- The Defendant converted the assets for their own personal use
- The Defendant intended to deprive or defraud the owner of the assets
It is important to note that hiring or counseling another person to do the above can also result in charges for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent.
Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent requires the prosecutor (known as the “Solicitor: in South Carolina) to prove specific intent, meaning that they must show the Defendant meant to deprive owner of the goods/funds/property. Although intent is hard to prove, it can be inferred from the Defendant’s actions.
The Defendant is an employee of the auto parts store in downtown Fort Mill, S.C. The manager asks the Defendant to take the daily deposit to the bank around the corner after the store closes. The Defendant takes the money out of the deposit bag, and counts a total of $2,750.00 in cash. Instead of depositing the money at the bank, the Defendant decides to use that money to pay off a personal debt to a friend. The manager contacts law enforcement in York County after discovering the funds were never deposited at the bank. The Defendant may be charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, in this case a Felony offense because the property value was between $2,000 - $10,000.
The Defendant works as a cashier at a convenience store in Chesterfield. When customers paid for their items in cash, the Defendant would discount the items in the store system, but still charge the customer full price. The Defendant would then pocket the difference. The Defendant did this for three years until a new store manager discovered what was going on. Over that three-year period, a total of $12,375 was taken by the Defendant. The Defendant may be charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent in South Carolina, in this case a Felony offense because the property value was over $10,000.
The Defendant is a teller at the local savings and loan in downtown Lancaster. A customer comes through the drive through window to deposit $500 into their bank account. The Defendant takes the cash and tells the customer that the deposit was made. Instead of depositing the money into their account, the Defendant puts the cash in their own wallet and uses it to buy a television after work. The Defendant may be charged with Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, in this case a Misdemeanor criminal charge in South Carolina because the property value was less than $2,000. However, the Defendant may be subject to criminal prosecution in federal court.2. Related Criminal Charges in South Carolina
Other related crimes offenses include:
- South Carolina Code Ann. 16-13-230: Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent
- South Carolina Code Ann. 16-13-210: Embezzlement of Public Funds
- South Carolina Code Ann. 16-13-240. Obtaining signature or property by false pretenses
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-13-30: Petit Larceny; Grand Larceny (Misdemeanor; Felony)
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-11-311: First Degree Burglary
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-11-330: Robbery and Attempted Robbery While Armed with a Deadly Weapon (Felony)
- South Carolina Code Annotated 16-17-530: Public Disorderly Conduct (Misdemeanor)
- South Carolina Code Ann. 56-5-1230: Duty to Give Information and Render Aid
It is possible to challenge Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent with the following defenses: lack of fiduciary relationship, no breach of trust, consent by the owner for the taking and selling of the property for Defendant’s benefit, lack of intent, etc. It is important to consult with legal counsel about your specific case to determine the most appropriate defense.4. Penalties for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent
Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent can be a misdemeanor or felony offense in South Carolina depending on the value of the property/goods/funds that were stolen. The following chart breaks down the penalties for each:
|Property Value||Offense Level||Fine||Imprisonment|
|Less than $2,000||Misdemeanor||Maximum $1,000||Up to 30 days|
|$2,000 - $10,000||Felony||In Court’s Discretion||Maximum of 5 years|
|$10,000 or more||Felony||In Court’s Discretion||Maximum of 10 years|
Other potential penalties for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent charges can also include civil lawsuits for monetary reimbursement.5. Criminal Defense for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent
If you believe that you are under investigation or have been charged for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, you should remain silent, not provide a statement, or admit guilt. You should also contact a criminal lawyer (defense attorney) immediately.
Attorney Chris Beddow is solely responsible for South Carolina cases at Powers Law Firm PA. To schedule a free consultation for your criminal case, call now: 803-504-6686
Mr. Beddow is also responsible for all South Carolina legal content on behalf of CarolinaAttorneys.com and Powers Law Firm PA.