What are my rights if I wrote a check to the wrong vendor and now they are refusing to return the money?

The check was for $ 6500 and the vendor cashed it. I have been unable to get them on the phone or by e-mail. What can I do to get this money back? Is what they did illegal?

Asked on April 6, 2015 under Business Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can sue the vendor for fraud.  Fraud is both civil and criminal. The civil case (lawsuit) is separate from the criminal case.

Your damages (the amount of compensation you are seeking) in the civil case for fraud would be $6500 plus punitive damages.  Punitive damages are a substantial additional amount to punish the intentional, wrongful act of the vendor (cashing the check instead of returning it to you).

Another criminal charge to file against the vendor is embezzlement.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

What they did is NOT legal--you can't take someone else's money just because it was sent to you by mistake. You can sue them to recover the money. You should also try contacting the police, but be aware that the police may refuse to help, even though this is a crime (a form of theft)--they may (mistakenly) think this is only a "civil" matter (or a lawsuit) instead of something that is both criminal and civil.


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.