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large sum of money stolen

(25 Posts)
butterflytrees Thu 21-Apr-16 19:38:26

My friend is going through a divorce - the papers are still being drafted. He has separated from his wife - but she is behaving very irrationally.

She has stolen £50,000 in cash, which is company money. She doesnt understand it is company money and not his. If he wants it for personal money, he will have to pay higher rate tax on it. He has paid corporation tax already on it, but has kept it in the company as he is having work done which will cost approx £30,000 to various contractors. Obviously this cannot be done now as the money has been taken.

He reported it to the police, gave a statement but did not get a crime reference number. The police told him that it is only theft if she spends the money, which seems absurd.

He has spoken to a solicitor, but she doesnt seem to be much help. She said to get an injunction in court would cost a lot, and that amount wouldnt reach the threshold to get the injunction in the first place.

So it seems he is unable to do anything.

Can anyone advise?

Many thanks in advance.

AveEldon Thu 21-Apr-16 19:43:58

How did she steal it? Did he leave £50K lying about??

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 21-Apr-16 19:45:34

So he had 50k in cash in his house? Do they still live together? Can he prove that it was a legitimate sum to have around and he wasn't trying to conceal it during a divorce?

I imagine they are right that they can't prove she intends to permanently deprive him of the money until she's done something with it, like spending it or banking it. Does he know where it is?

butterflytrees Thu 21-Apr-16 19:54:51

Not lying about. It was secure, but she had access as they were married and she knows where things are. They arent living together. The money was there before the divorce started (he hasnt even got the drafted papers yet) - thats how she knew about it. She thinks its his - perhaps she was worried he was going to try and conceal it, but he wasnt - he had made her a very generous settlement offer which she said shes not going to take because she wants to fuck him and she will only go through solicitors. When he said fine to that, if she wants to do it through solicitors it will eat into the money / assets for their children, but if thats what she wants what can he do. She then took the money.

He gave all the accounts showing its legitimate to his solicitor, who is happy that its legitimate, but says its not a large enough sum to get an injunction..

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 21-Apr-16 20:04:41

If it was secure but she had access, this probably hinges there. Was it in a safe?

I know it sounds very detailed but the devil is in the details here. It's all so intricate!

butterflytrees Thu 21-Apr-16 20:07:57

Not sure if it was in a safe. I can find out though

butterflytrees Thu 21-Apr-16 20:09:18

What difference does it make?

AnchorDownDeepBreath Thu 21-Apr-16 20:18:27

The way she accessed the money might make it easier to argue that there is at least enough evidence to investigate if theft has occurred.

As his solicitor has suggested, the theft route is the better of the two.

Herewegoagainfolks Thu 21-Apr-16 20:24:20

I would assume she had access to his on line accounts and took it that way? It will also be probable if that is the case.

I'd get his solicitor to write to her solicitor in very stern terms explaining the issues.

If this action damages his business he's not going to be as able to provide a settlement/support which surely can't be in her best interests?

butterflytrees Thu 21-Apr-16 20:25:00

The police said there is no theft till she spends it.

The solicitor didnt say anything about going that route, she suggested writing to the wifes solicitor to say they need it back for running of the business (not quite running of the business but there is work impending. One big lot of work hasnt been started, but a smaller job the contractors have been and placed orders with their suppliers)

Collaborate Thu 21-Apr-16 20:25:48

The solicitor is almost definitely right. It is unfair that they are being second-guessed here.

Assuming she doesn't deny having it, whether he needs an injunction depends on the value of the other assets.

Assume for example that the other assets are worth, say, £2m. The fact she's got £50k is just a downpayment on her settlement. Not worth bothering about.

If the £50k is the only asset then perhaps he should get an injunction, but I assume that people who have £50k in cash around the house also have a bit more besides.

Collaborate Thu 21-Apr-16 20:27:15

Just to clarify - the judge on an application for injunction will say that his position will not be prejudiced by wife spending this as there will be more than enough to balance it all out. Perhaps that's what the solicitor meant by "threshold".

butterflytrees Thu 21-Apr-16 20:39:05

Ok, thanks for the info. I probably dont know enough about the situation to get proper advice. I just found it strange the police couldnt do anything about it.

Thanks again for your help!

Iamdazedandconfused Fri 22-Apr-16 19:18:20

Assuming you're in the UK, theft is the "dishonest appropriation of property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive the other of it". That essentially means dishonestly assuming the rights of the true owner with the intention to permanently deprive the owner of it.

I have no idea why the police have said it isn't theft until she spends it - it's theft if she takes the money dishonestly. Perhaps, for whatever reason because of their situation, they mean it would be too difficult to prove theft until she spent it?

andintothefire Fri 22-Apr-16 20:43:34

I wonder if this is being looked at in the wrong way by a divorce solicitor. Is she involved in the company? If he is the sole director he could simply start a claim on behalf of the company for the return of the money. He can use money claim online - though note that he should write her a formal letter first setting out why the money belongs to the company and demanding repayment. If she is also a director it may be trickier because he will not have authority to start proceedings on behalf of the company without the agreement of a majority of the board (although she will owe directors' duties to the company in that case).

The company is a separate legal person so it will not be a defence to say that she is owed money by him.

If the basic facts are straightforward he may not need a solicitor. Though, again, note that any solicitor instructed on behalf of the company requires the authority of the board.

Very hastily written advice on limited facts so please do not rely on it without proper research and possibly consulting a solicitor.

Tiggeryoubastard Fri 22-Apr-16 20:47:32

I'm guessing he's left it in the company on purpose thinking she can't get it in the divorce. Shitty if so. That's why she's taken it.

AuditAngel Fri 22-Apr-16 20:49:22

I presume he has an accountant? Tell the accountant all about it, he will be required to report it to the National Ceiminal Agency.

I do not agree that there is no theft until she spends the money, speak to a different police officer and ask them to explain clearly why no theft has occurred.

andintothefire Fri 22-Apr-16 20:57:59

OP - this advice on civil claims for stolen money may help: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-rights/legal-system/being-sued-because-of-shoplifting-or-stealing/a-business-takes-legal-action-against-you-to-recover-losses-for-theft/

andintothefire Fri 22-Apr-16 21:01:53

I'm guessing he's left it in the company on purpose thinking she can't get it in the divorce. Shitty if so. That's why she's taken it.

Not necessarily. There are many legitimate reasons why money is left in the company, including for tax planning purposes. He may also not be in a position to pay it out legitimately as a dividend if it is needed to pay creditors. In any event, the value of his shareholding in the company is likely to be taken into account in a divorce.

Tiggeryoubastard Fri 22-Apr-16 21:13:53

It's not to pay creditors - it's to do some 'work done' according to the OP.

andintothefire Fri 22-Apr-16 21:18:02

It's not to pay creditors - it's to do some 'work done' according to the OP.

You may be right, though I interpreted "having work done" as meaning that it is already happening, in which case the contractors will be creditors. Even if it is planned work, he may not be able to pay the money out if it is in the best interests of the company to have the work done rather than to extract it as a dividend for him personally. But I think my main point is that he will not be able to hide the money in the company because his interest in it will in any event be taken into account as part of his assets. So if he is trying to hide it, it won't help him!

Tiggeryoubastard Fri 22-Apr-16 21:21:57

Yep, I know, but I thought maybe he thought he could hide it.

andintothefire Fri 22-Apr-16 21:29:45

Yep, I know, but I thought maybe he thought he could hide it

Quite possibly wink

Though I think she is playing a very risky game and could find herself liable for all the company's costs in trying to recover the money if she doesn't return it. It is quite a silly move on her part.

IWantMyMumSheWouldBeProud Fri 22-Apr-16 21:34:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BeckyMcDonald Sat 23-Apr-16 19:03:43

50k in cash? I'm not surprised she thought he was trying to hide it.

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