Can I be charged criminally for personal charges on a company credit card when there was no company credit card policy?

I was issued a company credit card over a year ago from the company that I work for. When I was issued the card I didn’t sign anything and the company has no written credit card policy nor has verbally communicated such a policy to me. I am the facilities and fleet manager for the company and used the card for travel, fleet and property maintenance as well as running errands and personal expenses for the company owner. Upon receiving the card I comminicated that upon recieving the bill I would write explanations on the bills and submit them to our accounting manager, along with a personal reimbursement check for personal expenses. I followed this process for over a year and was never questioned or asked to provide receipts. Then 3 days ago, our accounting manager approached me and asked me for reciepts for every transaction on the card back to the beginning of 2016. I informed him I didn’t have any because I was never told to keep receipts. Then our HR manager came to me with a spreadsheet of every transaction, over $1,000, and said that I needed to provide reciepts or further explanation for all transactions and suspended me for 3 paid days in order to come up with

whatever I could. I am supposed to meet with our company lawyer in 2 days to go over the spreadsheet and determine where this goes from here. My concern is that without receipts I am forced to go off of my explanations because I obviously cannot remember every

transaction over the last year. I am afraid if I made any mistakes in recalling personal transactions that they will say that I stole and so try and press criminal charges. In no way did I intend to steal anything and have a pattern over the last year of making substantial

reimbursement checks for transactions that I recalled as personal.

Asked on March 26, 2017 under Criminal Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Technically, yes, you can be charged: any personal charges (especially as-yet unreimbursed charges) on a company card represent a theft from the company. However, if you can show that you have in the past submitted reimbursement voluntarily and that you have offered to reimburse now for anything you indvertantly did not reimburse previously, there is a good chance that no charges would be made against you, because you do not appear to be showing a "criminal intent" or "mens rea." Even if charges were initially put against you, it is very likely that they would later be dismissed, again because there is no evident criminal intent--a criminal intent is what separates what is otherwise simply a "civil," matter, or something you could be sued over, from a crime. And even if any charges (if any were proferred) were not voluntarily dismissed, if you can show both a history of and current intention to reimburse, it is very unlikely that the prosecutor could prove a criminal intention "beyond a reasonable doubt" and so convict.
Furthermore, if you are evidently willing to reimburse, it is unlikely that the company will even try to press charges--they may terminate you as well as seeking reimbursement, but more often than not, in cases like this, a willingness to reimburse keeps actual criminal charges from being sought.

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