Workplace Fraud/Unfair Competition
In today’s business world, instances of fraud, breach of duty and even outright theft are occurring with greater frequency. From closely held companies to large multi-national corporations, no employer is immune if greed meets the wrong opportunity. Anyone, including trusted employees, partners, vendors, competitors, contractors, customers, or outsiders, can cause extensive harm by disclosing confidential information, stealing trade secrets or other confidential business information, converting property, committing workers’ compensation fraud, manipulating financial statements, and embezzling funds.
Phillips Lytle attorneys advise clients in preventive measures and represent businesses to address these improper and unlawful activities. Our attorneys also advise and interact with prosecutors and regulatory bodies to defend against or help rectify workplace misconduct.
Representative examples of our involvement in this area:
- Obtained an injunction and seizing pirated proprietary materials from a disloyal employee.
- Obtained an injunction against a former attorney and then prosecuting criminal contempt charges for violations of the injunction.
- Prepared and referred a case to law enforcement authorities of an employee who had been stealing from the company over an extended period. We also negotiated insurance coverage for the loss.
- Investigated and obtained a court order restraining all of the assets and property of a shareholder of a closely held company who was skimming distributions, stealing cash, diverting business opportunities, and destroying the evidence. This resulted in a full, multi-million dollar litigated settlement, including full reimbursement of attorneys’ and investigative fees.
- Enjoined the use of a stolen customer list in the possession of a competitor, restraining all of that competitor’s assets, and resolving the matter while preserving the integrity and confidentiality of the customer information at issue.
- Interfaced with prosecutors regarding an employee engaged in workers’ compensation fraud, and then had his multimillion dollar workplace injury lawsuit dismissed because of his misconduct.
- Advised an employer of an executive arrested for possession of child pornography, and interfaced with law enforcement, so as to avoid the potential destruction of evidence, while minimizing disruption in the workplace and with customers, the media and the public.
- Assisted in the termination of a dishonest employee, obtained restitution, and assisted law enforcement in the prosecution of the former employee, as well as then advising the client on appropriate internal controls.
- Determined that a suspected one-time theft was actually an ongoing, long-standing practice of embezzlement, of several different types. Then, after properly gathering evidence, and a confession, our proper case presentation to law enforcement led to a felony conviction and full restitution.
- Determined that a suspected, but productive, employee did not engage in any wrongdoing without alienating the employee or exposing the company to liability.
- Identified and removed an employee who had improperly gained access to confidential business information via company email.
- Obtained a restraining order against a union and its business agent for theft of trade secrets.
- Secured key admissions during discovery, and then negotiated a favorable settlement of a state court lawsuit, wherein disgruntled members of a church congregation incredibly encouraged a minority employee to commence meritless litigation (and funded an initial retainer) against the church and pastor as part of a conspiracy to remove the pastor.