If my former employer mistakenly direct deposited a pay check into my account but I no longer work there, do I have to pay the money back?

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If my former employer mistakenly direct deposited a pay check into my account but I no longer work there, do I have to pay the money back?

Asked on August 25, 2011 Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you do need to return the money. The simple fact is, if it was a paycheck or the equivalent, but you were no longer working there and did not do the work for which this money was compensation or pay, you are not entitled to the money; you have no right to it. A mistake does not give someone a right to keep money; for example, if you accidently overpaid on your mortgage, taxes, or utility bill, you'd have the right to get that money back (or at least have it credited to your account or next bill). Similarly, if you are overpaid, you have to return the funds; if you don't you could be sued for them, which could end up costing you more (cost of defending yourself as well as the money, which you'd still have to give back).


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