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RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 12132
Experience:  Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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I'm being accused of stealing from client when she gifted me

Customer Question

I'm being accused of stealing from client when she gifted me money to help me
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you.

So I can better work on a answer, can you please tell me:

1) How much money were you gifted?
2) When you say you are being accused, have you been arrested or charged? Are the police involved?
3) Do you have any documentation that the money was a gift? Or has the client indicated to anyone that this money was a gift?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
It was on several different occasions some transactions were for her when sent but written out to me it is in process of investigation I got fired from job for making poor choices and I have no documentation besides check she wrote
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your reply. Just a couple more questions, please.

Is the client willing to write a statement out saying the money was a gift? What specifically did you want to know? Also, and this is important, how much money was it?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Over 7 thousand and I'm not allowed to contact my job told me
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Thank you for your reply.

It's hard to know what exactly you are asking, so I'll try to cover it, and then you can reply if you need additional assistance or clarification. Under Massachusetts law, ff the property allegedly stolen is valued at more than $250, theft is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or by a fine of not more than $25,000 and imprisonment in jail for not more than two years. (§ 30.)

If the theft involves property taken directly from the person of another, the offense carries a sentence of no more than five years in state prison, or no more than two and one-half years in jail. (Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 266 § 25.) Furthermore, if the theft involves a victim who is 65 years of age or older, the person who committed the theft will receive a sentence of imprisonment in the state prison for not more than five years, or in jail for not more than two and one-half years. (§ 25.) Any prior theft convictions can enhance penalties.

While this is just my professional opinion, there is no good thing that will come from talking to the police if you are a person of interest to them. Be smart. Innocent or guilty. Don't talk. Ever. Even if an attorney tells you it is okay to talk to the police, NEVER TALK TO POLICE. This applies to after you have an attorney as well as before you have an attorney. At no point in time should you be talking to the police.

At the end of the day, police are imperfect humans. They hear what they expect to hear and see what they expect to see. Sometimes that is something other than what you say. I've talked to many people as an attorney who were innocent and thought that they could "explain away" everything to the police. But the fact is, when police are talking to you, they're looking for a suspect -not an explanation. And, police only need "probable cause", or a reasonable belief, that you committed a crime to arrest you. That's a much lower burden of proof then what a prosecutor is required to have to convict you.

By talking to the police or giving a written statement, you are just allowing them to potentially use something you have said against you later on. Even if you meant something else, your words or statements can come back to haunt you. You can't undo speaking with them and what you said. But you are NOT obligated to talk to them. You can politely tell that officer "I'm sorry, but I'm done making any further statements or answering questions. Any further questions can be directed to my attorney (if you have one)." That's all you have to say. They can't force you to talk. And ultimately, whether you talk to them or not is not going to change their decision. If they intend to arrest you, they will whether you talk or not. That's just the reality.

Your former employer cannot keep you from contacting this former client. Absent a court order prohibiting you from doing so, you have that right. That said, it may be better coming from a lawyer. Since you don't have any other type of documentation to show that they gave you this money voluntarily (a recorded conversation, an email, a letter, etc), the statement the client gives is really what this turns on. It's quite possible, in my opinion, if they are willing to sign an affidavit that you never stole money from them, that the investigation would end. But the client is key to all of this, because otherwise it looks like checks were written and you took some of the money without permission, which isn't the case at all.

I think at this point, if you haven't done so, with an investigation started, you need to seek out legal counsel, even though you haven't been charged. It won't hurt to talk to a lawyer in your area and explain everything. Many criminal defense lawyers offer free, or if not free, low cost initial consultations, and there's never an obligation to hire them.

Did you need clarification or additional information about my answer? If so, please reply, I'm happy to assist further. Oitherwise, please remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars,as experts are not employees of this site and we are only paid if you leave a positive rating.Thank you

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
How would I get a signed affidavit? Is it something I do?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

It doesn't even have to be in affidavit format. Something like a signed statement from the client saying they are making the statement of their own free will, and stating the amounts of money they gave you (and the dates if they know) and that the money was meant as a gift, not as a loan, and not stolen, and that they do not expect to be paid back for it. You could get something like that yourself if you wanted.

My only thinking was that if the police are investigating, the client may not talk to you, but might talk to your lawyer, who could get something in writing from them, and then contact investigators with the statement. The police SHOULD talk to the client as part of the investigation anyway, but I don't trust police to necessarily do anything properly.

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
Do I need it notarized or have witnesses?
Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

It's not required, but you can. A notary (who can also act as witness) is merely signing that they verified the identification of the client. And witnesses would similarly be signing that they watched the person sign in front of them.

Expert:  RobertJDFL replied 5 months ago.

Wanted to follow up with you this morning:

Did you need clarification or additional information about my answer? If so, please reply, I'm happy to assist further. Otherwise, please remember to leave a positive rating for me by clicking on the stars,as experts are not employees of this site and we are only paid if you leave a positive rating.Thank you!