What can I do if I think my business partner is stealing? In a situation where you discover that your business partner may be stealing or breaking the law in another way, it is important to handle you own reaction appropriately. You may be considering a business divorce. This means that in this situation the business partners add up all of the accounts receivable as well as the assets and then remove any retained equity or debts. The final amount that remains, known as profit, will be divided between each partner’s shares of the company. If you suspect that something is amiss and that your business partner is taking advantage of you or the company, though, it can quickly feel like your whole world has been turned upside down.

Gather Evidence

It’s a serious matter to accuse anyone of stealing from your company, but this becomes even more complicated when you’re accusing a business partner. Make sure that you have evidence supporting your claim, as it may be important for any case that follows. Your partnership will be impaired as soon as you accuse someone else of this behavior, so you want to have the proof before you move forward.

Review the Governing Documents

It is very important to have governing documents for your business that outline what will happen in the event that one partner is discovered stealing. Technically, you can sue the other individual for embezzlement. Embezzlement itself is a crime, so you cannot sue your own business partner for embezzlement necessarily, but you may be able to pursue a claim of breach of fiduciary duty. The underlying actions of stealing usually violate both civil and criminal law. If you choose to go this route, it is important to consult with an Arizona business litigation attorney.

Your own governing documents may outline the responsibilities that partners have to one another as well as to the business. This agreement, combined with any evidence you have about the stealing, can prove critical. You want to be organized and ready with these materials if you intend to pursue your business partner with a theft allegation.

Get an Attorney’s Advice

A partnership dispute and resulting divorce can be a very complicated matter and emotions can escalate very quickly. Discovering that your business partner is stealing is an unfortunate situation, but you do need to act swiftly and professionally in order to protect your own interest and determine the next stage for the business. Acting sooner rather than later under the advice of an Arizona business attorney could prove to be critically important for the future of your company.


This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding I Think My Business Partner Is Stealing, or any other litigation matter, please feel free to contact us at 480.461.5300,  log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.