Daughter steals major money from mother-daughter-owned bakery, mom is up a creek. I am doing my best to help and need advice. YANAL, YANML.
July 23, 2012 2:40 PM Subscribe
I work at a mother-daughter-owned bakery. The daughter has stolen major money from the business and her mom, and now her mom is up a creek. I am doing my best to help and need advice. YANAL, YANML, etc.
Legal advice needed. YANAL, YANML, etc.
Before I jump in I will state that we have an appointment with a lawyer tomorrow but I want to be as prepared as possible for the meeting.
I have been working at a very successful neighborhood bakery for the last nine months. The bakery is owned by a mother-daughter duo. Mom is 65 and primarily a baker, daughter is 38 and primarily the business manager.
Last week it came to light that the daughter has (a) not been paying the bakery's bills (we owe more than $5500 in rent and $2000 in coffee purchases, for example), and (b) has been stealing cash from the till and the bakery's bank account. The last $13,000 of the bakery's money disappeared last week. Over the last five years the daughter has managed to burn through $250,000 of the mom's money. There isn't any left.
This is all complicated by these facts:
+ the bakery, the mother, and the daughter share a single bank account
+ payroll and the appropriate taxes don't exist
+ the books are pretty much nonexistent
+ the mother and daughter live together (though neither one has been staying at the house)
+ the mom's credit is in bad shape due to all this financial mayhem
+ the daughter is an alcoholic, and could well be bipolar and/or have borderline personality disorder (IANAT, however my mother and my best friend are and they tell me that these seem likely after having met her)
+ the daughter has physically intimidated the mom before (shoving, not allowing her to leave rooms, etc.)
The mom is afraid to go home. She has been sleeping at the bakery and only goes back to the house to make sure her dog is okay. (The dog can't come in the bakery for obvious health code reasons.) She worked a 120-hour week last week. Her mental health is deteriorating fast.
My two priorities are making sure she is not (a) homeless, and (b) a threat to herself. She has talked about suicide but she has said she won't do it because she needs to make sure someone will take care of her dog. I am going to see if the dog can be considered a therapy dog / companion animal but I know that will take time. I don't know how long the dog issue will stand in her way. I would obviously prefer not to call the police on her but I will if it is necessary.
Beyond that, I want the daughter to face consequences. The mom is willing to press criminal charges. I feel strongly about making this happen. It may be what she needs to get sober and get serious help for her mental health issues, whatever they may be.
I don't know if the bakery can be saved and I don't know what the mom will do if she doesn't have the bakery anymore. She has small social security payments coming in, but that's about it.
MeFites, is this elder abuse? What other things should I be thinking about to talk to the lawyer about? More than anything I just want this woman to be safe and happy. She's suffered a lot of hard knocks. The people at the bakery have become like family to me and I can't stand idly by; that said I also know that at some point I may just have to let go if there's nothing more to be done.
Thanks so much.