Which of the following can the employee be sued for in the act of embezzlement? Assuming an employer-employee contract was drafted and signed.
-Forensic accountant costs (to discover damages)
-Lawyer costs (to proceed in court)
-Punitive damages (to make an example of)
And if the case went to court, which of those may the judgment include?
First, the employee may be prosecuted criminally, and the matter could be referred to the police and DA.
A local attorney would be able to answer questions regarding local statutes, fee-shifting (attorney fees), punitive damages, etc. There are likely state laws and statutes that would apply to this situation in addition to the general common law claims available.
In civil court, an employee could be sued under a number of theories including: conversion, theft, fraud, breach of duty of loyalty and fiduciary duty, breach of contract (since there is a contract here), misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and various other common law theories.
A judgment for the amount embezzled would be the bare minimum. Most lawyers would ask the court to award all of the above-listed damages, and depending on the circumstances, the venue, the judge, and the case, you may see some or all of the additional damages listed.
Jurisdiction will determine what civil remedies are available and whether you are entitlted to attorneys fees. However, if criminal charges are brought, most prosecutors will seek an order of restitution from the defendant at the time of sentencing. Additionally, many attorneys representing clients charged with embezzlement will attempt to reach a civil compromise of the civil case to either avoid criminal presecution or minamize the potential sentence.
Your question is posed regarding a civil suit only. That may or may not be the case. the employer could cll the authorities which could result in a criminal case. Depending on the amount and method used, case could be a federal one as well. Employee is then faced with a civil , and two criinal cases [no double jeopardy as the state and feds are two different jurisdictions] on which employee coud serve time consecutively.
There may or may not be a possible civil compromise for any state criminal action as felonies are excluded. I do not presently practice federl criminal law so I cannot comment about a potential fed version of a civil compromise.
In a civil case, the employer would be permitted to recover at least the amount embezzled, interest on it both prejudgment and post judgment and court costs. Unless the statute or contract permits it, in civil case, could not recover attorney fees but might recover other litigation based costs such as deposition fees, and any expert witness fees.
If case was also criminally prosecuted, employer might also be abe to recover reasonable attorney fees.
One needs an attorney. Negotiating a resolution, especially to avoid criminal prosecution, will absolutely require a skilled attorney. This is not something one should do on their own. Screw it up and life can get very unpleasant.
The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.
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