Being arrested for a theft crime in Georgia can seriously impact your life. Theft by conversion is one of those offenses. It’s important to know what it is and how you can be charged.
What is theft by conversion?
Theft by conversion is committed by a person who legally obtains funds or property from someone else but then converts them for personal use. When the funds or property are obtained, it’s through an agreement that specifies that the person must use or dispose of those things in a certain way. It’s when the individual doesn’t abide by the agreement and uses the funds or property for their own personal use that makes the action a crime.
In Georgia, theft by conversion can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the value of the funds or property.
What are the elements of theft by conversion?
To prove that a person is guilty of theft by conversion, the prosecution must show that certain elements are in place. The first is that the defendant gained the funds or property from another person lawfully. For example, money was given to them by someone and was supposed to be put into a bank account or donated to charity.
The next element to be proven is that the funds or property were meant to be used in a specific manner according to an agreement.
The prosecution would then have to prove that the defendant took the funds or property and failed to use it according to the agreement and that, instead, used it for their own personal benefit. For example, instead of money being deposited in the bank or donated to charity, the individual instead spent the money on jewelry and a new smartphone. This would constitute theft by conversion.
If convicted, a person could face prison time and hefty fines for this crime. A strong defense strategy is needed.