If an employee has been stealing cash from the register, what is the best course of action to take to recover these assets?

My wife’s family owned a hardware store and recently discovered that a new employee is/has stolen in excess of $1500 while working the register. She has done this by scanning items in the store and “returning” them, then pocketing the cash. Numerous transactions like this have occurred in the past week, with possibly more within the last month, the $1500 amount being what has been discovered so far. What is the best course of action that she and her family can take to ensure that the defendant will be held responsible financially, if not criminally?

Asked on July 2, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The main way to recover money which someone has stolen from you is to sue her: you would seek to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence (or that it is "more likely than not") that the person took the money. You could use testimony (such as of any employees who saw this happen), financial records or register tape of transactions, any video, etc. If the business is not a corporation or LLC, the business owner (e.g. say your father-in-law is the owner) should be able to represent him/herself if he/she wanted to, such as in small claims court, to avoid the cost of an attorney; but if the business is a corporation or LLC, you will need a lawyer (only lawyers can represent corporations or LLCs).

The other option is to report this to the police. If the authorities take action, they *may* require repayment of the funds as part of a plea or sentence; note however that they don't have to, so this is a less certain way to recover the money.

Or you can do both.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.