Hi. My friend "A" has owned a small business for 2 years. In early September this year, he asked if I would partner with him. I agreed to pay $10,000 We agreed we would split the profits + expenses (bills, taxes, rent, etc) 50/50 I was put on the business bank account as a joint holder. The verbal agreement was that he would work as he always had and I would spend a few hours each day, trying to learn the business.
In mid-September, he left town to visit family. Since I still didn't know how to run the store, he asked his friend, "D" to work. "D" only came on 2 days (and I was with him those 2 days) The other (3) days, the store remained closed.
At the end of September, "A" returned and we resumed business. I noticed that at the end of each business day, "A" would take the money from the register and put it all in his pocket. In other words, I had no way of knowing how much the store made day to day. I just to take his word for it.
At the beginning of October, I hired someone, "B" to work for me. He trained with "A" for the first week and learned the ins and outs of the business. By the second week of October, "A" again left town. This time he took almost all the store's money with him, except for $500 which he left for me to deposit into the bank. He had also written a check on the business account for $1000+ for purchases he had made from August to September. When that check cleared, the bank balance fell to below zero. I had to spend $350 of my own money to get the balance out of the red. Since he had taken the previous week's money, there was no money to pay "B"s salary. "A" assured me he would pay me back and pay "B"s salary when he returned. A few days later, the bank balance again dropped to below zero and this time I had to use $250 of my own money to balance the account. Again, he said he'd pay me back.
On October 21, the police came to the store saying the store was suspected of selling stolen goods. The police said they had been watching the store for many months. The police almost arrested me for activities "A" did even before I bought in. The police action was troublesome and resulted in "B" quitting that day. The store closed on October 22 and didn't reopen until "A" returned to town on October 24 Incidentally, the police came again on the 24th looking for more stolen items.
At this point, I felt certain that I had been deceived about the nature of the store's business. I had not known the store was in possession
of stolen property. Had I known, I would not have bought in to it. I asked "A" for a return on my deposit, in exchange for his half of the business back. He refused, saying he had already invested the money in another business out of town. I tried many times to resolve the matter, even talking with his family and our mutual friends. "A" is leaving town for good at the end of this month. He will close all the accounts and he has taken back his deposit from the landlord. He claimed he leave half of the inventory for me. That half isn't worth $10,000 I am out $10,000 and left with useless inventory. I feel I was cheated and I'd like to know if there is anything I can legally do to recoup my money.