What is the criteria for being charged with criminal conspiracy and being an accessory after the fact?

UPDATED: May 22, 2011

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What is the criteria for being charged with criminal conspiracy and being an accessory after the fact?

My friend’s wife has been charged with felony level theft of property lost/mislaid/deliver by mistake. He had no idea anything was going on until yesterday and is now afraid that by her doing this he is guilty by association and will be charged with a crime himself when he was completely ignorant of everything. What are the chances of him being charged with receiving stolen property or accessory after the fact? She stole money from her employer, and we think that it was used on repairs and bills for the house. The house has both of their names on the mortgage.

Asked on May 22, 2011 under Criminal Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Someone who purely innocently accepts stolen property will not be criminally responsible, though it's not enough to not actually now...it must also be the case that it was "reasonable" to not know. If a reasonable person should have know the money was stolen, it may be the person would be criminally liable--willful blindness is not a defense. So if there was no way the couple could have paid for the bills and repairs based on their incomes, then it may be that your friend could be found liable.

Also, independent of criminal liability, there is potential civil liablity: for example, no one can keep stolen goods or money. The couple may well have to repay these funds, regardless of knowledge.

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