Can I be charged with a financial crime if I hold a power of attorney?
Holding a financial power of attorney does not make a person immune from prosecution for financial crimes. Arizona Revised Statutes reads that “an agent who holds a principal’s power of attorney…and who uses or manages the principal’s assets or property with the intent to unlawfully deprive that person of the asset or property is guilty of theft.” See A.R.S. 13-1815.
Arizona power of attorney theft law is vague. A power of attorney can allow an individual to act on behalf of an incapacitated or vulnerable adult, including property management and financial compensation for the holder. If a prosecutor feels that money has been mismanaged, potential charges can be filed under the theory that the person holding the power of attorney either procured the power unlawfully or that their authority was exceeded. Under either theory, the state must prove that the actions were made with the intent to obtain the property unlawfully.
There are many key issues surrounding power of attorney theft, and these issues vary by case depending on the circumstances. If you have been charged or think you may be charged with theft by an unlawful use of a power of attorney, you can contact experiencedwhite collar crime attorney, Jeremy Geigle, for a free consultation at (480)-818-9943.