What can be the consequences for me if my ex-fiance recently made me aware of a bill that was still coming out of his account after being broken up for 2 years?

I had no knowledge that it was coming out of his account. Now I do acknowledge that I rightfully owe him the money after he presented the evidence. He wants me to pay back 35 months from when we were together and it started coming out to present. I absolutely agreed to pay him back in full.However he says if I don’t have the money in the next month that he is pressing charges.

Asked on March 1, 2013 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

He can try to press charges, but it's not to him--the authorities decide whether to do so, and very well may choose to not do so. And even if charges are levied against you, it is very likely they will either be dropped or that you would not be convicted. That is because what makes an act criminal--as opposed to merely grounds for a lawsuit--is that there must be criminal intent, or "mens rea." Basically, you must have intended to steal your ex-fiance's money. Unless it can be shown that you had the requisite intent, you did not commit a crime, though as you acknowledge, you still have an obligation to repay the money, because you were not entitled to it. If you can show that the bill had been coming out of his account in the beginning with his  permission, so that it is likely you merely forgot about it, and also that you are willing to repay, it will be difficult to show that you had criminal intent.

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