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Is lying about hours worked considered fraud or theft?

I work for a vendor company that does work for certain retailers. My job was to go into a specific retailer and sell a certain laptop for 8 hours a day. On several occasions I clocked in from home and never went into work. Total pay that I received for the times that I clocked in but did not go into work was about $1800. My employer now has put me on a temporary suspension and won't discuss why. I'm assuming it's because they saw that I was clocking in and not showing up for work. In other words, still getting paid while not being in work. I had asked a criminal lawyer about this and he said that it doesn't seem like it would be considered theft but rather a civil case. I just wanted a second opinion. If my employer decides to take action, could they take legal action as in a criminal case

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