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If your "friend" (and it doesn't sound like she is your friend) files a civil suit against you and claims that you took the money, she has to prove it by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard is the judge or jury must be persuaded that the facts are more probably one way (her's) than another (yours). The fact that you had a key does not implicate you any more than any of the other people who had access.
If she does file suit, stay firm and explain that you have no idea what happened to her money and you are shocked and hurt that she would accuse you since you have been friends so long.
Unless she has some sort of additional evidence that would point to you other than her suspicions, it is highly unlikely that she would win.
I hope this helps and stick to your guns.
Ok, with those facts it does make her case stronger. But the fact that it is family would be weighed against her testimony. At this point, she has done nothing criminal that would be actionable by the police.
If she did file suit, and if she did get a judgment, it would be a civil case, not a criminal one.
It doesn't make sense why she would "set you up" by intentionally leaving money out that could be taken. She would have to explain why she did this in court.
Is ther anything that I could do now to help my case if this does go to court and would it be in small claims court?
So what you're saying is that if she did go to the police now the couldn't do anything to me?
I just feel like I would look guilty in court by the claims she is making and I am currently working off the books and I think she would bring this up in court and then I would be in alot more than $1200 worth of trouble.
I think she is doing this because I recently started dating someone seriously and she get very jealous every time Im with him. She is gay and i believe she has had feelings for me but I dont have any proof of that.
The reality of it that she could file a criminal complaint for theft, but the prosecutor would look at it and likely decide not to prosecute. The standard of proof in a criminal case is "beyond a reasonable doubt" and the prosecutor would likely conclude that he couldn't meet that burden and leave it to civil court. There is no guarantee he wouldn't pursue it, but in the thousands of criminal cases I have done, the prosecutors normally push everything they can to civil court to lighten their caseload.
She would file in small claims court but the fact that you are working off the books wouldn't be relevant to the claim and the judge might actually view that against her since the only reason she would bring that up is to try to make you look bad.
Until she does something, you really are in a holding pattern with nothing to do until you have to respond to something.
Thank You Matt. You have been very helpful and if and when she decides to do something I will be back with more questions for you on how to proceed.
You are welcome and I hope everything works out for you.