Legal Options for Victims of Stolen Funds

Under Florida law, if someone steals money from the rightful owner, the owner may have legal options to recover the stolen money, even if the individual who stole the funds does not have (or no longer has) the financial resources to pay back the owner.  In such circumstances, many individuals believe that nothing can be done to recover the stolen money.  However, individuals committing theft may be acting in the course and scope of their employment or agency and serving a purpose or interest of the employer.  Thus, employers may be subject to civil liability for the stolen funds under a principle known as vicarious liability.  For instance, if an insurance agent steals a premium intended for the purchase of an insurance product, the individual victim may advance persuasive arguments that the insurance company should be liable for the stolen funds.   Moreover, while common law claims, such as conversion, may be pursued by theft victims, Florida has a statutory scheme that, upon proper proof, permits victims to recover three times the amount stolen, plus attorney fees and costs.  Fla. Stat. Ann. ยง 772.11 (Civil remedy for theft or exploitation).  The employer of the individual who stole the funds may be exposed to "treble" damages, attorney fees, and costs if the individual who stole the funds was acting in the course and scope of employment at the time of the theft, and the employer itself is guilty of "some fault" that foreseeably contributed to the victim's losses due to the theft.

If you are the victim of theft and seek more information concerning your legal options to recover the stolen funds, please contact Ewusiak Law.