What should I do if I am being accused of stealing? 29 Answers as of July 25, 2013

Started a business and needed additional funds so I found an investor who at the time stated he would be a silent investor then as things processed he then began changing logos without my approval, staff, and making purchases without my knowledge. He was not a us citizen until last week when he received his green card. Now he has come back and said I have been stealing money from the company. Which all the permits, lease, license and back account is in my name. My personal account went over drawn and the back took money out of the business account to cover I told him I would pay back but he wouldnt listen. Please help. He has made it perfectly clear to me he has money and I dont and he can afford a lawyer and I cant.

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Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
You should report him and what he is doing to the authorities. You can also report him to immigration officials because a crime of this matter may effect his status here. If you are charged with a felony, you will be eligible for a public defender if you cannot afford a lawyer. You can always seek out a pro bono attorney as well.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/31/2011
Lowenstein Law Office
Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
It depends on several factors.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/4/2011
Michael Breczinski
Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
If he sues you then get a lawyer and fight.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/29/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
While your situation is a desperate one, it is one that may require an attorney. If you are charged criminally, then you may request a Court Appointed attorney. If sued civilly, then you will need to hire one. Not affording one will place you in a position of defending yourself, which is not typically recommended. In such a circumstance, I would request borrowing the needed funds rather than going it alone. I hope that this was helpful.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 7/29/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
You may be better served in hiring a civil attorney and consider filing suit against him before he can do the same to you.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 7/28/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    If you do get criminal charges filed against you you may be able to get a court appointed attorney if you can not afford an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/28/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    It sound like you may have need for a civil lawyer. If the business is breaking up or there is a dispute in the dissolution a civil attorney may be needed. In terms of committing a theft, it seems like you did not seek to deprive the company of property but rather were the victim of a bad economy or poor business model. If you are contacted by the police it is okay and the best advise to say no thank you I have nothing to say without my lawyer present. You can not be forced to answer police questions.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    You should retain myself or an experienced criminal attorney so that you can explain the circumstances and find out what your options are and how to handle the case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    This question is very complex and will depend upon a variety of facts. You should consult with an attorney in person as the answers to your questions will take time to sort out.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Osterman Law LLC
    Osterman Law LLC | Mark D. Osterman
    You are hoping for a magic potion or some incantation that will help you with your problem. So far he is not hired a lawyer. The conduct of the Bank is not unusual where you have opened the accounts and you are the underlying principle and not your company. It looks to me as if your problem is that you did not incorporate or take any formal action to protect yourself in a limited liability corporation. The limited liability corporation allows you to have investors who are supposed to be silent partners. Apparently you have given this individual access to things such as logos and other information concerning the Company. He is also aware of your bank accounts. Obviously, you have allowed the proverbial camel to stick his nose in the proverbial tent and now you find yourself on the outside. It is time to stop providing him with information and start closing access. It is time to formalize documents if it is not already too late. You need to go to the bank in clear things up and make sure they cannot take money out of your business account to take care of the personal matters. You cannot co-mingle your funds with a company funds where you have an investor. That is a crime. You really need to hire a lawyer as this is not an area where Pro Bono is going to work. Good Luck
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    With all due respects, if you do not have the money to retain a lawyer then our office cannot represent you. This is a business and just as in your business we cannot provide goods or services unless we are compensated for our time, and being in business yourself you understand that it is unrealistic to believe otherwise. Your query seems detailed and complex but unless you are willing to retain our office, i.e.; pay for a legal consultation there is nothing we can do for you.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    You should seek the advise of an attorney both for the alleged stealing and for the business problems that you are having. It is hard to steal money from yourself. Depending on the form of the business, i.e. is it a corporation, there may be no crime. It does sound like he is about to run over you and take over. Legal assistance would be helpful.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner
    Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
    This is a civil dispute and not a criminal action.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Hire a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    It doesn't sound like you stole anything. If he's just an investor, then he should let you run the business. It's unfortunate that the bank took business money to cover your personal overdrafts. You should really pay that back. But you didn't steal it! The bank took it.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Law Office of Maureen Furlong Baldwin | Maureen Furlong Baldwin
    Unfortunately your question is very complex. A quickie answer on the internet is not going to solve anything. BUT if you are "accused of stealing", the first issue is whether the matter is civil or criminal. If the matter was criminal, it would mean that you are accused of taking his money and diverting it to your own purposes other than the company.The police would ultimately get involved and want the company books, to question you, etc. Even though you say you cannot afford an attorney, you will need one if the police attempt to interview you or other employees, etc. If this is civil, then your question is whether you lose more by hiring an attorney to fight the case, or what your company is worth if you let it go. And BTW, having a green card is NOT the same as being a US citizen.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    If you are charged with a crime and are arrested or otherwise summoned to court, an attorney will be appointed to represent you if you cannot afford one according to the court's guidelines. If you do not qualify, or if you are sued over the alleged theft, you can call around to many attorneys to find one who has flexible or affordable payment arrangements to be able to assist you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law
    Michael Maltby, Attorney at Law | Michael Maltby
    Anyone can accuse somebody of stealing. There has to be an intent to deprive and I do not see that. From what I see this is a very loose business relationship. If there is a contract between you and your investe r that would delineate the duties owed by you to this invester. If no contract, your invester may have a hard time proving anything even in civil court. Wait and see what the invester does and then seek legal advice if he files suit or the police get involved. Don't make any statement to anyone before you speak to an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law
    Thomas Humphrey, Attorney at Law | Thomas Humphrey
    Have you been charged with a crime?
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 7/25/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Well you're going to need to cough up some money, because without a lawyer you are toast. Hire one before you start incriminating yourself to his lawyer/investigator.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Tell the SOB that extortion is illegal in the USA and that threatening to call the police unless paid is just that. It is a felony and he can be deported. Now if you actually stole something, pay him back immediately whatever it takes. It is apparent that this person used you to start the business. You can fight him for it but that will take money. If he won't play ball, fire him and notify INS because he is probably using you for his green card. Whatever you do, don't threaten him about calling the INS, calling the cops about immigration fraud or anything of the kind or you could be charged with extortion. Just sit him down and tell him that he is not acting in conformance with your contract. Transfer the business account to a different bank from your personal bank and make sure to put every cent back into the new account including the disputed amount.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/27/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    Only talk about the facts in a confidential setting (i.e, lawyer therapist). Acquire as much documentation as you can to justify your actions (proper and authorized business expenses or the like). J
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    It sounds like a predicament. Just because he has a green card does not mean he is a citizen. It sounds like you need to meet with an attorney, at least, to strategize how you deal with this situation. I can help.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation
    Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
    In order to be guilty of grand theft, you need to have taken money from another person with the intent to steal the money and not return it at the time you took the money. At very minimum you need to meet with an experienced criminal defense lawyer and go over your case in detail. You do not want to be arrested for this crime and a criminal defense lawyer can evaluate your case and tell you the likelihood of you being prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    Talk to no one until you have talked to a lawyer. I am not sure that you are guilty of anything but I would not talk with him or anyone else about this matter until you have met with counsel and reviewed all relevant documents.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 7/26/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    What can you do? Either hire an attorney, or effectively represent yourself in rebutting his claims. You must re-establish control over your company. If he was not properly authorized as an officer, director, employee or agent to do such things, then it is he that has been misusing the company and its funds, and you should be taking action to remedy that. If he was authorized as an officer, director, employee or agent, then youll have to sort out how to undo the problems youve allowed to develop. There is no magic wand to wave and make it all disappear, just informed effort and actions. It could end up in litigation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/26/2011
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