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socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
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Experience:  Retired (mostly)
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My ex husband electronically set up a web pay to take money

Resolved Question:

My ex husband electronically set up a web pay to take money from my personal checking account to pay the mortgage for his home. I did not authorize him to do this. The bank returned the moneyt to my account. Are there civil penalties that I may be allowed to receive for his crime against me?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 years ago.

Under 18 USC sec 1030(a)(5)(B)(i), a person subject to an identity theft associated with a computer system that causes more than an aggregate loss of $5,000 during any one-year period, has a private right of action against the purpetrator.

 

Unfortunately, there is no right to punitive damages under the law -- only recovery of the lost money is permitted.

 

You could sue for the common law tort of "misappropriation of identity," but as you have already recovered your money, your right to punitive damages, in the absence of any compensatory damages, could be quite limited. But, you could try it in small claims court and ask for the jurisdictional maximum. Maybe the judge would award punitive damages, despite your having only nominal general damages.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Does the fact that he used corporate equipment to commit the crime give me any legal rights against the corporation, his employer? Given that he is professionally engqaged to prevent this type of crime change how damages may be awarded to me?
Expert:  socrateaser replied 7 years ago.

Employers are "vicariously liable" for the acts and omissions of employees when undertaken "within the scope of employment." If you sue the employer, you would have to prove this element, and the employer would probably argue that it's ridiculous to think that your ex's action was somehow part of the job description.

 

That said, you can always sue the employer, and if it's a big enough company, maybe it won't show up -- because big companies are frequently pretty arrogant about defening small claims actions. In which case, you could get a default against the employer and collect even if the employer wouldn't have otherwise been liable.

 

If you sue in regular court, the employer will show up by attorney and I believe your claim against the employer would ultimately fail.

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