Can I sue to get my money back from my brother regarding our business paernership?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue to get my money back from my brother regarding our business paernership?

I gave my brother several thousand dollars to start a business. I was supposed to

be co-owner of the new company, but he took the money and partnered with another

man. I am now being told they want me to work 16hr days and they will decide my


Asked on October 21, 2016 under Business Law, Utah


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If the money was a loan, it has to be repaid as per the terms of the loan--if not, you could sue him for breach of contract for violating the loan's terms.
If the money was an investment and there was a written agreement as to what it would be used for, you could sue again for breach of contract. 
If the money was investment, then even without a written agreement, when you invest in (as opposed to loan money to) a business, you become an owner or partner--possibly a minority one, if another person or persons invested more, but still an owner or partner. The other partners owe you a "fiduciary duty," or duty to deal with you in good faith; if it is violated, you can sue about that violation.
If he lied about what he was going to do with the money or what you  would get for it, he committed fraud, and you could sue him for fraud.
And/or if he simply took money entrusted to him for a specific purpose and used it for something else or his own benefit, he may have committed "theft by deception."
So depending on the exact facts and situation, there are several reasons you could potentially sue.

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 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.

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