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I own a small business and one of my employees (now ex employee)

used personal information of our...
I own a small business and one of my employees (now ex employee) used personal information of our clients to open up cell phone accounts. The investigating secret service agent is requesting that I go through the list of names and verify which are clients. I have gone through the list and about 10% of the names on the list are clients. Should i provide the completed list to the agent, even though it would confirm my agency as one of the sources she stole info from? The agent has been very friendly and stated that neither myself or my business is being implicated or involved in the case.
Please give me any advise you can before I submit the list.
Thank you in advance
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Answered in 12 minutes by:
5/14/2013
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 20,423
Experience: Licensed Atty, 29 yrs exp in the practice of law.
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Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. Although I cannot give you legal advice since we cannot form an attorney-client relationship and the Site TOS does not allow it, I can tell you what some of the legal issues are in regards XXXXX XXXXX the list.

If you voluntarily give this list to law enforcement, you are exposing your company to potential civil suit from the "victims" based on negligence on the company's part or just suit based on the fact that your employee did this while employed by you. You would likely have a good defense, but you do have that exposure. In addition, there is a privacy issue here. The privacy issue though can be overcome if you are compelled to release the names. That means if law enforcement comes to you with a warrant for this information, then you have to give it to them and you no longer have legal exposure for voluntarily providing private information to an outside source.

You will still potentially have legal exposure with your customers for the identity theft even if you do have to provide the information via a warrant. However, it is always more advisable to make the State jump through the legal hoops and compel you to provide the information by way of a warrant. So, if you want to go that route, just tell law enforcement that you would be more than willing to provide the information once you are served with a warrant for the list.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Attorney
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago

as of now, my employee has not been charged. It was her fiance that she claims used her computer to steal the clients info. Out of the 1200 names provided, only 50 or so are clients. Does it matter that the criminal was not my employee? Should I still make them get a warrant for the names of my clients on the list.

Hello again and thank you for your reply. Again, I have to remind you that I am not, and cannot tell you what you should do in this case. I can really only tell you what your legal exposure is and what your rights are. The fact that it was not your employee that took the information is good for you in terms of liability for the theft of the names. It would be much harder for a customer to successfully sue you for this breach since you cannot anticipate that a third party will come in and do this and this wasn't your employee.

However, the other issues are the same. In other words, there is still your right to demand a warrant before you give out private information (names of customers.) Whether you do that is up to you. As long as you are comfortable that you are dealing with legitimate law enforcement (badges seen and names and bag numbers taken) then you can either voluntarily give them this information or demand a warrant. You have no criminal exposure here, so that is not an issue.
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