Legal Question in Civil Litigation in California

$20,000 stolen from me, bank wont help, can I sue?

I allowed my daughters boyfriend, Mike, to move into my home.

I discovered recently that he had been stealing my buisness checks out of my office and writing them out to himself in amounts up to $800 dollars. He would then go to the bank and cash them in. He would do this multiple times a day.

The bank has his finger prints on the checks, and the bank actually noticed that my signature did not match the signature on the check one time, so the bank manager proceeded to ''sign off'' next to the forged signature OKing the transaction, instead of calling to verify that I had written the check and following the bank protocol! The signature wasn't even my name he had actually signed ''Mike'' thats how negligent the bank tellers were

He ended up taking $20,000 out of my bank account before I noticed. The bank is saying that I did not notice quickly enough, therefore, they are not considering this to be fraud and they don't owe me anything.

Because the bank does not consider this fraud, the police are unable to press criminal charges.

Can I sue Mike or the bank to retreive my money?

I feel the bank was clearly negligent by not following protocol and did not protect my money.


Asked on 8/25/08, 2:15 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

J. Caleb Donner Donner & Donner

Re: $20,000 stolen from me, bank wont help, can I sue?

Yes, this is actionable. Both YOU AND the Bank can file with the police regarding the forgeries and fraud.

There ARE protections for you vis-a-vis the bank. They are only supposed to withdraw funds for authorized transactions. However, there are also certain time limitations.

Additionally, the bank will, no doubt, claim that the checks were authorized as there were no objections for a long time based on the fact that the withdawals were only in denominations of $800, yet $20,000 total was taken.

Of course, you can always seek compensation from your daughter's boyfriend. You MAY want to sue him now if he's not in a position to hire an attorney to defend. You would have the potential of getting a judgment that might be collectible someday.

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Answered on 8/25/08, 2:22 pm
Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

Re: $20,000 stolen from me, bank wont help, can I sue?

Sure. But he probably doesn't have anything for you to collect from. Your best bet is to file criminal charges and hope the court makes his repay restitution.

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Answered on 8/25/08, 3:02 pm


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