Going into business with a partner can be a great thing, but it can also come with headaches—especially if you find out that you can’t trust your partner. This article discusses what to do if your business partner is stealing from the company.
Starting a business with a partner requires a lot of trust. Even if you think you know your business partner, it’s possible that they will betray your trust at some point in your professional relationship. What do you do if you discover that they are stealing from the company?
You need to tread carefully to protect yourself and the future of your company. Here’s what to do if your business partner is stealing from your company.
What to Do If Your Business Partner Is Stealing
1. Document, Document, Document
If your company is missing money or you see evidence of embezzlement, carefully document your company’s transactions. Keep a catalog of money flowing in and out to make it easier to find holes in accounting practices if they arise. It’s easy to catch embezzlement if you compare your accounts to employees’ pay stubs and vendors’ receipts.
2. Refer to Your Partnership Agreement
When you first started your company, you should have created a partnership agreement that laid out what would happen in different situations affecting the company. Partnership agreements can limit the power that each partner has over decision-making, spending, and other essential functions of the business. If you are uncertain whether your partner has the power to do certain things with company assets, you should refer to your partnership agreement to see whether they have breached the contract.
3. Refrain from Making Accusations
If you have found substantial evidence of your business partner stealing money, you should invest the time needed to properly handle the situation in a professional manner. Reacting without obtaining legal counsel could cost you. Don’t confront them until you have a solid plan in place that protects you and the company.
4. Discuss Your Options with a Commercial Litigation Attorney
A commercial litigation lawyer can help you combat unethical and illegal business practices. A skilled attorney will represent your interests and help you resolve the situation as quickly as possible.
Types of theft
Theft can take many different forms, so it’s important to know what types of actions can lead to prosecution and litigation:
- Physical Theft – taking items or money from the business without permission.
- Embezzlement – stealing assets from the company, usually through access to an account.
- Fraud – using business funds for personal expenses.
- Intellectual Property Theft – using trade secrets and ideas without permission.
- Breach of Fiduciary Duty – misappropriating funds from a trust.
What to Do If Your Business Partner Is Stealing: Get an Attorney
Not sure what to do if your partner is stealing from your business? If you notice these common signs, it’s time to call a qualified attorney. Your partner could be irreparably harming your business, so you need to act quickly if you want to limit the damage. Ready to discuss? Get in touch with me today to set up a consultation.