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, and 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, or embezzling funds.
Phillips Lytle attorneys advise clients in preventive measures and represent businesses to address these improper and unlawful activities. We also advise and interact with prosecutorial and regulatory bodies to defend against or help rectify employee misconduct.
Representative examples of our involvement:
- Obtained an injunction and seized pirated proprietary materials from a disloyal employee.
- Obtained an injunction against a former attorney and then prosecuted criminal contempt charges for violations of the injunction.
- Prepared and referred a case to law enforcement authorities on an employee who had been stealing from the company over an extended period. We also negotiated insurance coverage for the loss.
- Investigated – and attached all of the assets and property of –a shareholder of a closely held corporation who was skimming distributions, stealing cash, diverting business opportunities and destroying the evidence, resulting in a full, multi-million-dollar litigated settlement and full reimbursement of all 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 multi-million-dollar workplace injury lawsuit dismissed because of 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, 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 advising the client on appropriate internal controls following the incident.
- Determined that a suspected one-time theft was actually an ongoing, longstanding practice of embezzlement, of several different types. We properly gathered evidence and eventually garnered a confession, which lead to a felony conviction and full restitution.
- Determined that a suspected 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 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.