Many people contact our law firm to ask what they should do if an employee has embezzled funds from their business in North Carolina. They discover that someone has committed embezzlement and taken money in some form or fashion from their business. If more than $1,000 has been stolen then it’s a felony charge in North Carolina.
If someone has committed embezzlement from your business you should call the police and they will investigate and arrest where appropriate. As part of the criminal process there will be an effort by the police, district attorney’s office and courts to get you all of your money back.
What happens if you try to work out a deal with the employee and don’t call the police? After firing the employee some employers will try to work it out with that former employee and may not end up contacting the authorities. If you sign some type of contract or enter into some sort of formal agreement with that former employee for repayment of the funds that were taken - the police may not get involved in the case if that former employee doesn’t make good on his/her promise to repay the funds that were taken. Once you get into the point where there’s a contract then it likely becomes a civil matter and not a criminal matter and the police may decide not to get involved. At that point your only recourse will be to sue the former employee for the lost funds if they don’t pay the funds back as part of the agreement. All cases are unique so this may or may not apply to your specific case.
If criminal charges are brought against the former employee and they enter a plea deal or are found guilty then there will likely be some sort of restitution ordered by the courts as part of any deal or criminal sentence. Most courts in North Carolina are very interested in getting your business paid back for the funds that were taken.
The main issue here is that if you (1) decide not to call the police and then (2) sign a written agreement for repayment with the former employee who embezzled funds and (3) the employee doesn’t make repayment then you would likely have to sue the employee in civil court and the police could decide not to get involved.
If criminal charges are filed then there are strong mechanisms in North Carolina where the District Attorney and the Judge will be very concerned with making sure that your business gets paid back those embezzled funds.