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My business partner opened bank accounts in our business name without my knowledge or consent has he committed a criminal act?

Auburn, WA |

He and his wife opened two accounts, both using our business name and FEIN. I know that in order to open a business account all banks require the signature of all partners. That means that he either forged my name or said that his wife was his partner. I contacted the bank and sent them a letter stating that I had not given consent for these accounts and enclosed a copy of our partnership agreement to prove that I was a legal partner in this business. The bank sent me a letter saying they closed both accounts. Is this a criminal offense?

Attorney Answers 2


The seminal question is whether or not your business partner was authorized by your company to open the accounts. You have to remember that a company is a distinct legal person from the individuals who work in it or manage it, like yourself.

In the case of limited liability companies, the owners of the business are split into members and managers. The equivalent of this in a corporation are shareholders and directors of the board. In an LLC, all members have the authority, by law, to take action on behalf of the company, unless there are specific managers appointed. In a corporation, shareholders actions will not bind the corporation. So, depending on how an owner has elected to organize his or her business, it is possible that a business partner's actions are not unauthorized and therefore, not criminal.

You may want to consider consulting an attorney if your concerns arise to more than just the opening of bank accounts, such as applying for loans, signing leases, and the like. And frankly, at the end of the day, the best approach is to memorialize your duties via a board of directors resolution that grants specific individuals specific duties. If this does not work, perhaps it's time for a new partner. Good luck!

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I agree with the previous answer, and unless the actions of your partner actually deprived someone of something with a false or altered document I do not see a criminal act. I like to get start up business owners and have a "roles, goals, and expectations" meeting at the outset to avoid this type of problem through inadvertent actions.

Good Luck

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