Skip to Content

Can You Get Criminal Penalties If Your Employee Commits a Financial Crime?

Financial crime in the workplace

Years ago, a TV documentary designed to scare teens away from a life of crime showed a young woman who was serving a long prison sentence for acting as an accomplice to murder. Shortly after her 18th birthday, she agreed to help the assailants lure their mark to a certain residence. She flirted with the mark and then told him to meet her at the house she had agreed on with the assailants on the pretense that he would pick her up to go on a date. When he arrived and she let him into the house, the assailants appeared and killed him. 

The woman was convicted of conspiracy to commit murder despite the fact that she had not shed a drop of anyone’s blood. It is possible to get severe criminal penalties simply for being in on other people’s plans to commit a crime, even if you did not commit the crime yourself. When someone commits a crime in close proximity to you, then how do you prove that you had no role in it and did not know about it?  Specifically, what happens if you own a small business and one of your employees commits a financial crime?  It does not always mean that you are guilty, but it does mean that you need a Texas white-collar crime lawyer.

What Happens If Your Employees Defraud Customers or Insurance Companies?

Customers provide their identifying details, such as addresses and birthdates, to places of business for many reasons, such as for purposes of delivering orders by mail or in the context of their medical history. It is also common practice for customers to provide credit card numbers or bank account numbers for automatic debits. It is both tempting and easy for employees to misuse this information for purposes of identity theft. Whether the employer knows about it depends on the circumstances. For example, when a billing clerk in a Florida doctor’s office used her cell phone to take pictures of customers’ financial information and sold the pictures to identity thieves, her employer did not find out until after the police did.

If an employee at your small business is under investigation for financial crimes, you should cooperate with the investigation, but you should also hire a criminal defense lawyer. If you think that answering a question truthfully could lead to you getting criminal charges, you should plead the Fifth Amendment.

Civil and Criminal Liability for Financial Crimes

Even if you are not guilty of conspiracy to commit financial crimes, and even if you are not charged, your legal troubles may not be over. If your employee is convicted of a financial crime that occurred at your place of business, then people who suffered financial losses because of it have the right to file a tort claim against your business in civil court. This is the legal concept known as respondeat superior or vicarious liability.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

A Dallas, TX, criminal defense lawyer can help you if a business associate of yours is being investigated for a financial crime. 

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.

Share To: