What can I do if I am accused of theft in the workplace? 49 Answers as of August 08, 2011

My former boss accused me of stealing $2500, he says he has a hidden camera showing me stealing $15 and says that he went back throughout my history of employment with the company and has accused me for anything that seemed messed up. He has not contacted the authorities but rather sent me an email threatening to call the police about this issue if i do not pay him back. What advice, if any can you offer?

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Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Anything you say can and will be potentially used against you if your employer does ultimately contact the police. Written statements, especially e-mails will certainly be a big issue. I would strongly advise you to contact an attorney. Possible charges could include potential felonies depending on what allegedly went on. You need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/28/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Without more facts, I would advise you to retain the services of an attorney to help you through this. If you have not taken anything, and there is no merit to the accusations, you should have little to worry about. Your boss may be using you as a scapegoat for something else. However, do not take this lightly. The amount he has accused you of taking would make this a felony offense.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 7/27/2011
Smith & John
Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
Ask to see the video.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 7/27/2011
Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux
Law Offices of Scott Tibbedeaux | Scott Tibbedeaux
Contact an attorney with the email and details of the situation to best explore your options.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Sean Patrick Walsh
    Law Office of Sean Patrick Walsh | Sean Patrick Walsh
    Schedue a consultation immediately with a qualified defense lawyer. You could face felony grand theft charges.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    If the only evidence is one video and $15, I would not advise you make any admissions at all. He can report this to police, but they will only go on good evidence, not just hang everything on you. You should not do anything except possibly tell him you will pay back the $15 as the only money you are responsible for and none other. If he reports all of it and you face charges, you should consult with an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    I would advise you to immediately obtain an attorney to represent you in this matter. It appears that your boss is attempting to blackmail you. An attorney would assist you in getting this matter resolved.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    You are in a difficult position. One view of what the boss is doing is extortion, which itself could be a crime. Essentially, I understand that your boss is saying pay me $2,500 and I will not go to the police. If so, then this could be viewed as a type of extortion. (Keep his e-mail as potential evidence). You may wish to have this reviewed by counsel. Similarly, if you believed that this was a crime, it would equally be extortion if you said that you would not call the police unless he keeps you employed and doesn't report any claimed theft to the police. If there is a possibility that you are on tape stealing $15, then you may face some difficult evidence if you are charged with a crime. You should avoid making any statements concerning this matter, and should not make statements that amount to an admission. In Michigan, in the absence of a union and collective bargaining agreement, employment is "at will." This means that you could be fired at any time without giving any reason. Therefore, you are not in a strong position under the facts you present if your goal is to preserve your employment. I hope that this was helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    If you are charged with a crime you should hire an attorney. If your former employer is just trying to get you to pay back the money then he may not file any criminal charges against you. You should not pay your former employer if you did not steal anything.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    If you did it, pay him back whatever it takes. If you didn't, ask to see the tape. If you are convinced you didn't do it, perhaps you should call the police yourself and inform them that your former employer is attempting to extort money from you. Tell them you will cooperate and get him to admit it on tape. Then he will have the problem instead of you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    This depends upon your actual level of guilt in the situation. If you have, in fact stolen from the company then you should likely attempt to keep this matter out of court by settling with your employer. You should be sure, however, to have an agreement in writing to ensure that the terms of the settlement are clear and that you do not end up extorted for money on a continuing basis. This is something that it would be wise to consult with an attorney about. Conversely, if you have not committed any wrongdoing and believe that your boss does actually intend to refer this matter to the police then you should also consider hiring a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible in order to attempt to persuade your boss against this and/or to defend you in any ensuing legal proceedings. If you are seeking legal representation in this matter in Louisiana, I invite you to contact my firm at the information on this page for a free case evaluation.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    I have handled several cases similar to yours, and in fact, I have one of these going on at the moment. In many cases an attorney may be able to communicate with your former employer in a way that will minimize your troubles. Personally, I believe that an employer will in most cases take a very serious approach when an attorney is involved, and may not attempt to threaten and bully you into paying more than would be fair. I always ask to see whatever proof the employer has. Most allow me to see their records, tapes, video's or whatever they have. If there is good evidence that the former employee has taken anything, then the employer may negotiate a settlement with the attorney under which the former employee can repay whatever was taken and the whole matter dropped. Often this requires installments, but these can be negotiated.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 7/25/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    Without more information, it sounds like your employer has evidence of you stealing $15.00. Without more, it does not sound like your employer can do anything. I would advise if he contacts you again, you should contact an attorney. Likewise, if the police contact you do not speak to them but contact an attorney immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    This can be extremely serious. You can be accused of felony embezzlement per Penal Code Section 503.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law
    Eric M. Mark, Attorney at Law | Eric Mark
    Retain an attorney who can speak with your employer for you and protect your rights if he does report it to the police. Much more information is necessary to give you advise the next step to take. Call a lawyer ASAP.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    If you stole, work out a plan to repay him. If you did not, call his bluff.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Ultimately, you will have to make the call, but it is important you know all your rights. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You need to immediately hire an attorney to confront your former employer. If your employer presses charges you could wind up with a criminal record even if you are not convicted.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Generally, remember that anything that you say can be used against you so be cautious. I assume that you will not be working there any longer, so what benefit would it provide to admit anything and to pay back anything that cannot be proved. Just because someone says there is a video doesn't mean that it is true. Non-professional, and often even professional, video cameras produce such grainy and jittery images that it is difficult to prove anything with them. Hire an attorney and provide him or her with the specific information that he or she asks of you, then follow their advice. Without more detail I couldn't provide specific advice.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq.
    Law Offices of John J. Connors, Esq. | John J. Connors, Esq.
    The first thing you can do is not admit to anything. Taking $15 is a misdemeanor. Taking $2,500 is a felony. If you admit to taking more than the $15, and pay him the money, that can be used against you as a statement against your interest and an admission. Nothing says that your boss would not report this later to the police who may issue a summons and have you charged. You will probably lose your job anyway because the boss will not trust you. He has no basis for charging you with the theft of $2,500 based upon what you have said. It's up to you if you decide to take the deqal, but put in writing that your agreeing in no way is an admission of wrongdoing.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
    Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
    I would retain an attorney to negotiate a settlement with your boss before he call the police. After that it will be out of hands whether you are prosecuted. The advantage of an attorney helping you is any statement you make directly to your boss can be used against you if you are prosecuted. This is not the case if you go through an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Steven C. Bullock
    If you did it, fess up and pay him back if you didn't, tell him to do what he feels is right and be prepared to defend yourself in court.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    It sounds to me like he doesn't have enough evidenceto go to the police, doesn't think he has enough to go to the police, or has been to them and been told he doesn't have a case. I suggest you say nothing more to the former boss and retain a good lawyerwith experience in criminal defense.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Your summary states that your boss says he has a video of you taking money and wants the money back. You have not denied this so I will assume that you are guilty and took the $2,500. He will probably have you arrested either way, but you should retain an attorney and tell him the truth. Let him investigate the matter and determine what evidence they have against you and then he can advise you on how to proceed. If you are a thief your boss will never keep you on the job and if you are convicted of grand larceny you are going to have a hard time getting another job. It seems that you have ruined your career opportunities for a few thousand dollars and ruined your reputation as well. That shows very poor decision making and therefore you need to adjust the way you think and how you make decisions or you are going to continue to make bad decisions. The only way to be successful is to make good decisions and establish a good reputation, lots of connections, and genuine friends. You will not accomplish this by being dishonest and getting arrested. Hopefully you will learn from this experience.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    The first question is "Is it true as to any theft?" Is he making something up? He could be trying to extort money out of you by threatening to call the police if you don't pay or he could be just giving you a chance to make the theft good. More facts are needed.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    This is a situation that I would like to discuss in my office in person. Too many variables to get a quick answer. Do not make any admissions and only discuss the actual facts with your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    I would retain an attorney to write him a letter demanding that he offer proof that you stole from him. On the surface it sounds like he is shaking you down for money which puts the criminal activity on him, not you.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    First, if an investigation is focusing on you, you are better off making no statements at all than seeking to exculpate yourself. Second, you should retain counsel where they can seek to negotiate a resolution by being proactive.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    First, might he really have a video of you stealing? If no then don't cave to his bullying. If yes, then you might offer to return the $15 but deny all other wrongdoing. Ask him for a receipt that says he is releasing you from any future claims. Lastly, you need to find a new job.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    If you pay him it will be an admission of theft that he could still use to take to the police. Get an attorney who can best advise you upon knowing of all the facts.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/24/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    Such a threat is extortion and he should be arrested. You should say and do nothing, other than "you are wrong." Then shut up.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    You should hire and consult with a criminal defense attorney in order to achieve your best outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    First of all, the burden of proof is on your ex-employer to prove each and every act that he has accused you of. If he shows you evidence of your wrong-doing, then you have a problem, and should make arrangements with him to make restitution, if not, let him bring charges or sue you civilly for the funds/property he claims you have stolen from his company. The criminal courts do not generally act as collection agencies for aggrieved people or companies, they are interested in convicting defendants and seeing justice is done, with jail time as a distinct possibility. In any case, hire an attorney to review your options.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    If he is right, pay him back. If he is full of it, hire a criminal defense attorney. Line one up but tell him you won't need him/her until he goes to the cops. Pay a consultation fee and no more.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    First, hire a lawyer and speak to no one else. You must not incriminate yourself by speaking with your former boss, investigators, police...etc. Second, have your lawyer send your former boss a cease and desist / defamation letter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman
    The Law Offices of Gabriel Dorman | Gabriel Dorman
    You should immediately hire a criminal defense lawyer to help you. In general, you should do everything possible to avoid a theft charge and/or conviction as this will greatly impact your ability to obtain future employment and/or professional license. If the allegations are true, then an attorney can be effective in negotiating a settlement of this matter so that this is not reported to police.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Osterman Law LLC
    Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
    My suggestion is that you contact a local lawyer friendly with the local law enforcement. Have him make an appointment to meet with a cop in his office and bring the email. It seem to me that you are being "extorted" by your former boss. You can admit or deny taking the $15.00 Its the other money the boss demands forrepayment that is the issue.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    I suggest you contact an attorney who practices in your jurisdiction. Your question contains too many factual issues that an attorney would have to know about in order to advise you. I will add that even assuming your boss does have a video of you stealing $15 you might still want to tell him to "pound sand." It all depends on your particular situation as to how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Laguzzi Law, P.C.
    Laguzzi Law, P.C. | Carina Laguzzi
    If you did take the money, make a payment plan to pay it back. Otherwise, find another job.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Get an attorney immediately . Do not say anything to anyone but your attorney .
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Take the communication. See an attorney. Discuss you options. Appears former boss has committed extortion. DO NOT TAKE THAT COMMENT AND THREATEN HIM. Proceed cautiously with counsel!
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    What can you do? Take his threats of prosecution seriously. Hire an attorney, unless you know how to effectively represent yourself in court against a professional prosecutor intending to convict. A little free advice: exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. It also includes any communication or dealings with the company agents. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation. If you havent yet been arrested, your attorney may be able to negotiate a civil compromise agreement with the company that will avoid you being prosecuted. The attorney may be able to prove to the company their claims are not provable, and get the whole problem dropped.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    First of all, don't agree to pay back anything until first consulting with a criminal defense lawyer. Ask the boss for any proof or record that he has that you stole anything. Depending on how long ago it's been, the statute of limitations may have already expired. He will need some sort of proof before the prosecution can hope to get a conviction. Make sure you don't admit to anything either as that can be used against you. If they file charges, you definitely need to hire an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Arrange to hire a lawyer to broker the deal. Unfortunately, even if you pay him back, he can still legally press charges. This is usually handled professionally, however.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/23/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Proof of stealing $15 is normally not considered proof of stealing larger amounts of money. I would suggest you ask to see the alleged video.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/23/2011
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