Tag Archives: THEFT

Can I get jail?

Q: Can I get jail for taking a customer’s wallet from his shopping cart? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If you turned it in to lost and found or the manager within a reasonable amount of time, most likely not. If you retained control over this wallet, you may be charged with theft. If you have no criminal record, you may be able to get and ARD resolution of your case, or perhaps another diversion. Unless you have a lengthy criminal record, jail is not likely.

Can I get my property back if I’m not allowed on the property?

Q: My girlfriend lived with her grandfather for a few years and when she moved out two months ago she left a few large items on the property with permission. Around one month ago however her mother died and an argument over the funeral plans caused the grandfather to bar her from the property and he is refusing to allow her to collect her things. He is asking for an absurd amount of money to collect the items, to the tune of $40 a day since she moved in or roughly $78,000 in back storage fees that were never agreed to. He also refuses to allow her to collect the items from her mother’s estate as she lived with him at the time of her passing. The items value at around $2,000 to $3,000 but some of them are extremely sentimental and there are also textbooks that she needs for college. I need to know my legal options to retrieve these items or to sue him for the value. (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: He sounds like a real pill. Perhaps multiple trips up the Courthouse steps is what he needs. Seriously, regarding her property located in the old geezer’s house, have her file a civil suit with the local District Justice under a conversion or theft theory of law. Before she does, provide him a demand letter via certified mail to prove to the court that he was given notice of suit and did not respond. As far as her mother’s estate, she should review that with an estate attorney. More information would need to be known, such as was an estate opened? If not, why? If an estate was opened was this personal property you describe listed on the estate Inventory? If not, why? Etc. etc. Consult with a local estate lawyer.

Can I be convicted for using $200.00 of a stolen gift card if I “ONLY” used $50.00?

Q: In my previous job I worked at, four gift cards for $50.00 a piece were stolen=$200.00. I used one of the stolen gift cards for $50.00 and two other people related to me used the remaining three gift cards ($150.00) but they were not charged. Am I only accountable for the $50.00 I used or can I still be convicted for the whole $200.00 even though I only used $50.00? Also, they have blurry surveillance cameras that “it looks like me” and they used cellphone towers to say I was in the area.

A: I would need more details, but if you stole the four gift cards you are criminally liable for four gift cards, whether you only used one, or even none. I would find yourself a lawyer and not talk about this case anyone other than your lawyer.

What could my mother’s conviction look like for a felony 3 charge?

Q: She has been taking therapy classes and had an arrangement with the person she took money from prior to the cops getting involved. I’m worried because the amount was estimated $300,000 over the 7 years they could track.

A: You need to get her a lawyer to determine A) if she has a defense to all or some of the allegations (i.e., statute of limitations) and if not B) how to keep her out of jail. My thought is that it would be a felony 2 or 1 given that amount of money. As to her sentence if she has no defense and pleads guilty, it depends on many factors-hire prior record score, the position of the victim, the DA, the judge’s temperament, any mental health issues and any potential of restitution. In addition, if the victim was elderly, there are enhanced penalties in the sentencing guidelines. If there was any sort of embezzlement from a charity organization or an elderly or disabled person, the chances of jail are always greater.

Is it elder abuse to receive money from someone who is like a grandmother to you?

Q: I have known this lady for about 20+ years and has been like A grandmother to me. I’ve lived with her and everything. Her son has never really liked me. Long story short she has helped me sometimes with financial matters like one time my car got towed so she wrote me a check for $350 to help me get it out. Basically, I’ve gotten A little help from her on some occasions and her son I think has called the police and said something about elder abuse. She is older but was the smartest women I’ve ever known. We both held a high spiritual relationship and loved each other dearly. I’ve never taken advantage of her. There were times when things have come up and we would pray about it. We would then agree that her helping me out with money wasn’t the answer. But then again sometimes she would give me a helping hand. Can I really get into trouble? I never felt as if I was doing anything wrong in anyway. She has since passed away and I’m scared! We’re only talking about 2500$ in a couple years.

A: It sounds somewhat harmless the way you describe it, but I would need to know more facts. Was she incompetent? Did she have dementia? With her not being around to be interviewed by police or an adult protective services investigator, it is unlikely anything will come from it, especially given the fact that only $2,500.00 is involved. My opinion would change of course if there was any forgery or theft involved, or some other tangible record that exists.

Can I be arrested for using my ex’s credit cards?

Q: Can I be arrested or go to jail for using a debit card of my ex-lover for bills, even though he gave me permission to use it? My married ex-lover gave me his debit card to use to pay my car payment in November. He told me to keep the numbers handy in case I ever came upon any emergencies. He’s my ex, but we remained great friends. Well I lost my job, and I used his debit card to pay my rent, my car, and my phone bill. Now, he’s playing the jerk card and telling me I have to pay him the $2000 by tomorrow. What am I suppose to do? Can I go to jail? Can I be arrested? I don’t have the money to pay him back, and he gave me permission to use his card in the event of an emergency. (West Homestead, PA)

A: This sort of situation arises to a crime if you knew or should have known that you were not to continue using his cards and therefore not permitted or privileged to do so. If he tells that police that you knew, or should have known, you were not so permitted or privileged, you may be arrested for theft, access card offenses, etc. If in fact, you did not know, or should not have known, you may have a defense in what would be, a his word, against her word, trial. The danger is, is that it does not take much to be arrested. If you are, you will probably have a low bond. Do not make statements to the police and get a lawyer right away.

Brother forged deceased mom’s check

Q: Can I press forgery charges on behalf of my late mother? My mother died recently and we have discovered that a sibling signed my mother’s name to several checks that were drawn on my mother’s credit card. I went to the bank to which these checks were written (to pay a mortgage) and the bank told me that only my mother could press charges.

A: Yes, you would have to open an estate on behalf of your mother. The estate could then sue or prosecute the sibling as the legal party of interest. If there are sufficient assets there are other options to prosecuting. The estate attorney can advise you.



Sister is stealing from my mother


Q: My sister is being investigated for elder abuse on my mother and I am wondering if her employer is liable for her actions? So my sister was able to get a healthcare position with a local healthcare firm in which she is able to be my mom’s personal healthcare attendant. Now over the last month it has come to the forefront my sister has been stealing personal checks from my mother which caused a huge financial strain on my mom. The company is still allowing my sister to go to my mom’s home which has my mom terrified that she is going to steal again. Is her employer liable for her stealing since my sister is their employee and they haven’t removed her from my mom’s case?

A: An employer is generally liable for the actions of an employee, but not always. If the employer is aware of the wrongdoing of the employee and allows her to continue to be employed, liability against them is even better. However, your case is complicated by the familial relationship and can be further complicated if mother has competency issues. If mom is telling you that your sister is stealing from her but denying it to the employer, the situation gets more complicated and their liability decreases. If you really believe this is happening, you should put it in writing to the employer, or file a claim with them or whatever complaint procedure they have in place.



Q: Can I be charged for something I did not do and have idea who did? A cop came to my house a couple days ago and said he was investigating an incident that happened over a year ago at a department store where sleeping bags and air mattresses were taken. He advised an employee saw someone stuffing items in a car and said it was my license plate. I have never stolen anything and he said they will check video footage to see if it was me. I said if they had video wouldn’t he have looked at it first before accusing me? And, I don’t understand why it’s been over a year and now they are questioning me about an incident that I had nothing to do with. Will I have to go to court for this. It bothers me because if it was something so serious wouldn’t they have approached me when it first happened?

A: Yes, people do get charged for crimes they didn’t commit. It does happen. If you are truly innocent, the police officer may have been given bad information and is just fishing for evidence by talking to you and others. Do not make any statements to the police or anyone else, or let them search your car or home. If they continue to contact you, hire a lawyer.

Can we sue my boyfriend for not paying my mother?

Q: Theft by deception in Pennsylvania? My mother purchased a vehicle for the man I’ve been with since 2009, the same year of purchase. He is under verbal agreement to pay her over $20, 000 for it and hasn’t paid a dime yet. During this time I asked about the money then he physically mentally and emotionally verbally abused me when I mention the money owed. I need to know what to do to get her paid. He makes plenty if money to have paid her. She was very ill a few years ago he was waiting for her not to survive so he could get out of paying but she did. I’m not getting any answers from anyone else. Can you help?

A: Theft by Deception is a crime. I think you will have difficulty having the police or District Attorney file criminal charges with these facts. You may be able to sue him civilly, even though this is a verbal promise to pay and not a written contract. You need to decide whether you want him out of your life as this will make the lawsuit easier to carry out. For a civil suit, you could have a one or a four year statute of limitations, depending on the facts, but most likely a four year statute of limitation. So, time is of the essence if it is not too late for a suit at this point. I advise you to speak with a lawyer. Although it is a verbal contract, recovery of $20,000.00 should be pursued.