Bowen v. State, 322 S.W.3d 435 (Tex. App.—Eastland 2010), rev'd, 374 S.W.3d 427 (Tex. Crim. App. 2012).

Trusts

Criminal Liability

 

A jury convicted Trustee of misapplication of fiduciary property valued at over $200,000 under Penal Code § 32.45. Trustee was then sentenced to eight years in prison, fined $10,000, and ordered to pay $350,000 in restitution. Trustee appealed.

The appellate court agreed there was substantial evidence that Trustee misapplied well over $200,000 of trust assets. However, the indictment specifically stated that these trust assets were owned by one named beneficiary or held for her benefit; it did not list all of the beneficiaries. Because only about $100,000 was held in trust for the named beneficiary and because the jury charge did not include a lesser included offense, Trustee’s conviction was reversed.

Moral: An indictment for misapplication of fiduciary property should list all beneficiaries as the owners of the property and a jury charge should include a lesser included offense.



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