Addressing a partner’s theft of assets

| Jul 9, 2020 | Business Disputes |

Running a growing business is challenging in the best of times. Yet few actions are more devastating than discovering that a partner is stealing from the company. They may rationalize it, but taking assets without authorization, misappropriating funds, or committing other criminal acts is a violation of the partnership.

Not so fast

Partners often have access to all parts of the business and may be responsible for monitoring the books. It can make it difficult for someone else to recognize the theft or the scope of it. Before confronting them on their criminal behavior, it often makes business and legal sense to work with a knowledgeable business law attorney with experience handling these matters in court. These legal professionals can:

  • Investigate to determine the scope of the theft
  • Advise the partner on a course of legal action that offers the best chance for success
  • Notify the proper authorities without damaging public perception
  • Save the business while ending the partnership

Hold them accountable

Business partnerships are a lot like a marriage. The partners may not always agree on the proper course of action; nevertheless, the partner can be held accountable for their unauthorized activities. Businesses are governed by a state’s criminal and civil laws, so co-owners taking money for their benefit can be viewed as embezzlement, fraud or theft.

Partnerships are obligated to follow all agreements that apply. If they choose to violate those agreements, the other partner can then use those legal papers for their case. It can mean pressing charges if there is a criminal action, but criminal cases can convict them, but these take time, and there is no guarantee that they will return the assets. It may make more sense to present the investigation findings and demand the return of the funds or assets.  An attorney can provide insights on the best course of action for minimizing the damage and expense.