Maybe you turned over your employee’s pension fund to an investment professional who promised exceptional returns and seemed to have operational records affirming their claims. Maybe your company contracted with the supplier or service provider who offered interesting new products or a necessary service.
Whether you contracted with a service provider or made an investment in a new company using your business’s resources, you expect other people to approach such transactions with the same ethical attitude you do. Unfortunately, even businesses and successful entrepreneurs can become victims of fraud.
Can you take the investment professional or business owner who lied to you to civil court if they also face prosecution for their fraud?
Yes, you have a right to pursue civil justice
Fraud is a crime that is subject to prosecution, often by federal authorities. It is also an offense that typically has a negative financial impact on its victims. Those harmed through fraud and other criminal activity often have the right to pursue a civil lawsuit against the party that committed the act of fraud.
Despite what some people think, a lawsuit in relation to fraudulent conduct does not trigger double jeopardy protections. A civil claim by a victim is not the same thing as prosecution by the government. Regardless of the success of the prosecution, you can still take someone to court to seek compensation for the losses they caused with their misconduct.
Of course, it may be easier for you to achieve success in your claim if the prosecution of the other party is successful. Any evidence used in criminal court can help you build your case in civil court. However, even if the state does not charge the other party, you could still have grounds for a claim.
The standard of evidence for civil lawsuits is lower than that for criminal courts. Even if the prosecutor didn’t think they could secure a conviction, you could still be in a good position to get some of the money you lost back from the other party.
If your company lost resources, you deserve justice
You shouldn’t have to absorb major financial losses as a painful lesson that you cannot trust others. So long as the other party still has assets to their name, you may still have an opportunity to hold them financially accountable for their misconduct.
Pursuing justice after becoming a victim of business fraud may require cooperation with law enforcement agencies investigating the matter and the pursuit of appropriate compensation in the civil courts.