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Conversion, Cash

Conversion is the unauthorized assumption of the right of ownership over the personal property of another to the exclusion of the owner’s rights. Hunt v. Estate of Hunt, 348 S.W.3d 103, 113 (Mo. Ct. App. 2011). It may be shown in three ways: (1) tortious taking; (2) any use or appropriation to the use of the person in possession, indicating a claim of right in opposition to the owner’s rights; or (3) by refusal to give up possession to the owner on demand. Gadberry v. Bird, 191 S.W.3d 673, 675 (Mo. Ct. App. 2006).

“Personal property” for purposes of conversion does not include cash. Therefore, one cannot generally sue another in civil court for the conversion of cash. Johnson v. GMAC Mortg. Corp., 162 S.W.3d 110, 125 (Mo. Ct. App. 2005). There is, however, an exception to the exception: misappropriated funds in someone’s custody for a definite purpose may be subject to a suit for conversion when a defendant diverts those funds to another, different purpose. Gadberry, 191 S.W.3d at 675-76.

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