What can I do if my significant other robbed me of my life savings?

I wired money and wrote a heck for a substantial amount of money to my significant other under the understanding that he was going to invest it and it was to be a business agreement. None of the money has been returned and he says it’s gone. No proof of where it went and says he won’t repay it because every investment involves risk. He basically robbed me of my life savings. Anything I can do about it?

Asked on December 1, 2015 under Criminal Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that he lied to you--i.e. that he did not intend to invest it--you could sue him for fraud (for lying about a material, or important, fact, to induce you to send him the money) to try to recover the funds. Or if you think that once he had the money, he simply took and kept it, then you could him either instead or in addition for "conversion," which is type of theft--stealing something entrusted to you. If you believe he was simply unreasonably careless with the money (e.g. the  "investment" was going to a casino or the track), then he may have violated the fiduciary duty one busines partner owes his partner(s). The situation where you would not have a case is where he is did (and can prove) that he invested it in reasonable (even if not the best--simply "reasonable") investments which failed; in that case, as unfortunate as the situation, he did nothing legally wrong (possibly he was stupid in his investment strategy, but the law allows stupidity). 
If he's not providing documentation, however, then there's a good chance that he did act improperly and a lawsuit is very likely justified. If a "substantial" amount of money was involved, you should consult with an attorney about the situation.


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