Going into a business partnership with a like-minded person or group of people can be rewarding in many ways. Besides pulling resources together, a business partnership also lets you share your skills and experiences.
But what happens when you discover that the person you trusted is dishonest? Specifically, what happens if you learn that your business partner is stealing from the business?
Dealing with a partnership theft
There are generally four types of partnership theft: fraud, physical and intellectual property theft, breach of fiduciary duty and embezzlement. While some of these thefts directly lead to financial losses, others can go beyond this. Fraud, for instance, can lead to a lawsuit that affects the business and can result in incarceration. Thus, you should never sit back and do nothing if a partner is stealing from the business.
Depending on the nature of the theft, here are some of the steps you need to take:
Put your evidence together – Simply claiming that a partner is stealing from the business without evidence can be blasphemous at best. As soon as you notice something suspicious, it’s important that you start gathering your evidence. Some of the evidence you may need to prove theft includes unexplained or exaggerated expenses, a communication trail, witness accounts and any other relevant information.
Determine the nature of the theft – Establish the nature of the theft so you can determine whether you will resolve the matter in or out of court. Depending on the gravity of the theft, you may dissolve the partnership, expel the partner in question or sue for damages.
A business partnership can be rewarding. It can also be challenging. Understanding your legal options can be a great place to start if you learn that your partner is stealing from the business.