What should I do if I’ve been falsely accused of theft by someone with questionable ownership rights?

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What should I do if I’ve been falsely accused of theft by someone with questionable ownership rights?

I need help to determine if a lawyer is needed. I was giving a piece of antique furniture by my grandmother as a gift. The piece is practically worthless and was being destroyed by water and mold in my grandmother’s basement. The antique was picked up by a third party (my parents)  and delivered to my home. A week after I received the antique and began to restore it, another family member (who lives in my grandmother’s house) claimed it was originally given to him and would like it back. No members of my family have any  memory of this item being given away prior to it being given to me. This person has now filled a police report stating that I stole the antique. Does this person have any legal ground? What should my next course of action be?

Asked on February 21, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If your grandother is the owner of the property then she is the only one who can file charges against you UNLESS this other family member has been appointed as the guradian or conservator of her estate or she has geiven them a power of attorney to act on her behalf.  If she backs up your story then you should be fine.  Its always good to have a mouth piece in your corner just in case.  But wait this out.  Then if Granny backs you up sue the family member for defamation if you have grounds.  Good luck.


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