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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 118708
Experience:  Attorney with over 20 years law enforcement, prosecution, civil rights and defense experience
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I received a call from a NY police Detective recently who told

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I received a call from a NY police Detective recently who told me that my former partner claims that I stole the company's laptop. I told the detective that I didn't steal anything and that my former partners and I were in the middle of a civil dispute...they wrongfully forced me out back in May and said that the 10% partnership interest that I was promised is no available (under NY State law) since a contract was never signed. In addition to the 10% in the firm, they owe me over $500 in un-reimbursed expenses, $25,000 in back pay. I told the detective that if this is such a big deal to them that I would be happy to return it. The Detective asked if I could drop it off in a few days which I agreed. He then threatened that if I don't show up at the agreed upon time that he will come up to CT and show up at my house with a CT police and take me away in cuffs in front of my family. I asked why he is threatening me when I've already agreed to bring it in? I then said that I would drive in to the city now if he is making such a big deal of it. To make a long story short, the detective who spoke to me in the morning never showed up that afternoon. I had no idea that I was under arrest while I was waiting for him.They had me locked up for 3 hours before telling me that I was being charged/arrested for stealing the company's laptop and that the firm accused me of holding the laptop hostage so I can get 10% of the company from them. The final detective that processed me spoke to my former partner (to get "probable" cause) but refuse to hear my side of the story regarding the situation. I was there for 8 hours in total and not once did anyone read me my rights nor did the original detective tell me that I was already under arrest or that I should turn myself in voluntarily or he'll come up to arrest me. The laptop was purchased a year ago ($600 vs Police report claiming $1200) by the company/LLC as a backup and as an extra monitor for Bloomberg (charts etc.) so it's worth $200 at best.There are no company info on the laptop (e.g. client list or trading algorithms etc.). So I'm not sure how this is leverage or holding the laptop hostage when they owe me a minimum of $26k in un-reimbursed expenses and back pay and another $400-800k on the 10% interest on the partnership. I used the laptop at home when I'm not at the office. I was also using it to do work for a sister company after they wrongfully forced me out. Their lawyer did ask my lawyer for me to return the laptop twice. I and or my lawyer did not see the urgency to return it since there was no strategic/operational importance to the firm. They never said return it or we'll file theft charges. As a matter of fact, my lawyer received their last response in our dispute asking for the laptop an hour after the partner already had me arrested. My intent was always to return the laptop so I wanted to know what my chances are in court given the above facts and what my biggest arguments are to defend myself. I plan on using a public defender since I can't afford my own lawyer.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
First, if you have a civil action already filed this is going to be part of your evidence. The problem is that they demanded return of the company property, it did belong to them, BUT in order to prove theft they must prove you intended to permanently deprive them of the laptop and if you have been negotiating to return it, then you would argue there was no intent to permanently deprive and hence one of the elements of the theft is not present. The evidence of the civil litigation and the fact they owe you money is not as important as the fact your civil lawyer was negotiating with them over the return. The problem you will run into with this and getting a public defender is that if they learn you have a civil attorney, they will likely move to have the court to order you to pay for a criminal defense attorney as well and you would have to prove you are not paying the civil attorney but he is doing it on a contingency basis.

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Law Educator, Esq. and 4 other Criminal Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
My Civil lawyer is indeed working on a contingency basis
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
You will need to prove that to the court to get a public defender appointed.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
BTW, what are the other elements of theft?
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 7 years ago.
1) Taking something of value belonging to another 2) without their consent 3) with the intent to permanently deprive. Those are the three elements. If they gave it to you to use, their consent ended when they asked for the return.
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