Updated on April 18th, 2023
Sharon and Chris are both directors of Victory Wine, a company that manages several vineyards and sells wine in retail locations. Recently, the company accountant has approached Sharon with disturbing news. For the past three months, a large amount of money has disappeared from the business’ bank account. Sharon asks if it could be a system error. The accountant shares that there is evidence that Chris, the other director, has stolen money from the company to pay for his new yacht. Sharon does not know what to do. She wonders how best to deal with a director who steals money from his own company.
What Should Happen When a Director Is Stealing Money from Their Company?
When a ranking individual in a business, whether a director or partner, is found to be stealing money from their company, it can be a challenging scenario to confront. The person who discovers this unfortunate situation may wonder what is the best course of action to take. They may wonder what evidence to obtain, as well as how to protect their own interests in the fallout. The first step would be to keep calm and remove all emotion from the situation in order to handle it rationally and objectively. Anger or panic is a distraction that can lead to misguided actions or decisions.
Next, one should contact an experienced business and litigation attorney who can offer advice and legal assistance.
How to Obtain Evidence of a Director Stealing Company Funds
The next step would be for an individual to obtain genuine evidence of the director’s theft. First, they would have to identify the person or people involved in the scheme. It is not wise to immediately accuse a partner, co-owner, or director of stealing money from a company without first having solid, irrefutable evidence. After all, there may have simply been a mistake, such as an accounting error or a missed entry in the books. What one needs to find is a pattern of missing money.
Therefore, it would be a good idea to place controls on every account, tracking the amount going in and out at all times. One should require specific receipts for every expense regardless of size or purpose. These receipts should be printed on the sellers’ own receipt form or by automated paper receipt. They should be sure to include a detailed list of all items purchased. It would also be wise to look at withdrawals from ATMs using company debit and credit cards. If one’s business uses a cash register, then it may be a good idea to install cameras facing the drawer to see who is taking money from the register without approval.
What Are the Legal Consequences of a Director Stealing Money?
If a business associate, such as a director, is taking money from their company under a business pretext but is actually using it for personal reasons, this action would qualify as fraud. The business associate lied, and one has believed and relied upon the lie. As a result, the business has suffered damages or losses as a result of the director’s deceitful scheme. This associate may be guilty of embezzlement, which is defined as the theft of money or business assets by an individual in a position of trust within a business. The associate has also violated their fiduciary duty, which is their responsibility to protect the company in which they function as an official.
When a business associate commits the criminal offenses of embezzlement and fraud, it may be easier to remove the individual from the company and recoup any lost money or property. An attorney can offer guidance regarding whether or not to file criminal charges. A lawyer may also help to manage negotiations with the offending business partner and the attorney representing them. The victim of their fraud is entitled to recover civil financial damages as a result of the breach of fiduciary duty. It may also be possible to recover the assets or money that the director stole from the company. When the thief broke his or her fiduciary duty to the company, he or she put the business at risk. The harm to the company’s performance as well as any financial effect on its performance may add to the civil damages that can be recovered.
Can a Lawyer Help When a Director Steals Money?
When a director steals money from his or her own company, it is a very serious legal matter with high stakes. This is because there is usually a large amount of money or assets involved, and the damage to a company can be severe. Each step in the legal process should be carefully planned and put into action. To help with this, it is recommended to work with an experienced business and litigation attorney who can ensure that an individual is suitably prepared. He or she can also ensure that all the relevant laws and procedures listed in the corporate documents are followed accurately. An attorney can help an individual recover as much money as possible and has the skills and experience to help one achieve their goals.