fraudulent claim of theft from job

My best friend is being charged with stealing $36,000 from her old job. Her boss had her writing and cashing petty cash checks to pay illegal workers. Now he’s claiming she stole it all and her attorney said she’s gonna get screwed. My husband suggested checking the books to prove the work/manhours don’t match w/ the work completed Would that help her case? Her attorney is telling her there’s no way to prove anything, but I would think an accountant checking over the books would find something. Is this an avenue that should be pursued? her attorney is saying no

Asked on June 17, 2009 under Criminal Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

The issue does not appear to be proving that there's a discrepancy in the books, but rather proving that your friend did not take the money--that the money was given to the illegal workers. Is there any evidence of that? For example, did you friend get and keep any sort of receipts for the money?

This sounds like it may be very difficult to prove your friend's innocence--it will be difficult to get illegal workers to show up and testify that they were paid off the books, since (1) you first need to find them, and (2) they know that by testifying they are here illegally and worked illegally, they are opening themselves up for liability. If they haven't moved on already, they will likely move on and/or refuse to testify. Similarly, her boss and other people at the company have no incentive to admit they were breaking various labor and tax laws by hiring illegals.

Can your friend show that her deposits to her bank accounts completely match her income? Can she show that the is living completely within her income--that all dollars spent or saved match her reported income only? One way to make her case is to show that she herself does not have unexplained income.

Also, can she show that the company is currently hiring and using illegals (including by hiring a detective to provide the evidence)?

If she can show she has no explained income and that the company does use illegal workers, that will help support her case that the money was used to pay the workers, not taken herself.


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