Is it a criminal offense to steal from family?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it a criminal offense to steal from family?

My wife is suffering from addiction. She left the house 2-1/2
yrs ago when I found out she hadnt been paying bills, some
for over a year. I love her, and the kids love her, but we
cant get her to admit her problem and get help. We tried
two interventions but she was tipped off by her relatives and
hid out. We are almost out of resources and trying anything
to get her help. She stole thousands of dollars from the
family and am thinking the threat of jail or court might make
her get help. She collected the rent on our rentals for
months but spent the money and didnt pay the mortgages
so we lost both houses. She also used a Target debit card
for months after leaving which deducts the money from my
checking account. New Link Destination
tal of more than 3000.

Asked on December 15, 2018 under Criminal Law, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the money was in joint bank accounts, or she was listed as one of the landlords on the leases, etc. then this was not theft as a criminal act: she was as entitled to the money as the joint account holder, the other landlord (e.g. you), etc. and so could take it. 
If she took money from properties or accounts she did not control or was not an owner/account holder of, however, then it was theft; there is no exception to the theft statutes for taking money from family, and stealing from family is still stealing. So the real issue is whether she took money she had control over or a right to or not; if not, you could file charges against her.

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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