Company Pays Man It Never Employed For More Than 4 Years, Sues To Get Money Back

Anthony accepted a job at New Jersey telemarketing company Avaya Inc. in September 2002 but decided at the last minute not to start working for the company.

Avaya went ahead and kept him on payroll anyway, and for the next several years it pumped a total of $470,000 into his bank account. The company finally caught onto the error in February 2007 and sued Anthony, who pleaded guilty, the AP reports.

Turns out Anthony’s free money came at quite a price. He’s pleaded guilty to one count of theft and prosecutors are recommending he pay the company back and serve six years in prison.

The takeaway here is that if you’re getting checks from a company you don’t work for, you’ll want to take care of the situation before it gets out of hand.

Man took pay from NJ company he never worked for [AP via San Francisco Chronicle]
(Photo: HCVIII)
(Thanks, Rhys!)

Comments

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  1. Nogard13 says:

    WTF?

    How is this a crime? Since when is accepting money for not doing anything illegal? Don’t Congressmen do it every day?

    This should’ve been a civil case where they sue him for the money back.

    • exploded says:

      @Nogard13: I would think that the argument would be that he was hired and signed a contract with the company. He never performed any of the services in the contract, but was still paid for them, hence the fraud.

      • Esquire99 says:

        @exploded:
        While we don’t know what he was initially charged with, he pleaded guilty to theft, not fraud.

      • Blueskylaw says:

        @exploded:

        Isn’t that what a politically connected “consultant” does?

      • shadowkahn says:

        @exploded:

        I’ve been waiting for an article like this to pop up. Anyone remember the Verizon story from the other day, where Verizon falsely charged a couple an extra $20 a month because Verizon had not, as it was obligated to do by a cancellation notice, cancelled their dialup internet line?

        Why is it that this man has to pay the company back, but Verizon doesn’t have to pay their victims back? Seems to me (and yes I know this is bleedingly obvious to all but the most blinded out there) that the justice system is weighted rather heavily in favor of corporations, and not the people that the government is supposed to serve.

    • mythago says:

      @Nogard13: C’mon. This was not “accepting money for not doing anything”. This was clearly an error where the people sending payroll checks were not told (or their computers were not told) that the guy had quit. He knew he didn’t work for them, he obviously knew he wasn’t entitled to the money, but he kept it.

      If he didn’t do anything wrong then why do you think there should be a civil case?

      • rworne says:

        @mythago:

        Dunno. Maybe he thought it was a severance package. Lots of execs get payouts better than this, even if they work for a ridiculously short period of time.

        • mythago says:

          @rworne: Right. Or maybe he thought that the Little Green Men were beaming money into his account as a goodwill gesture toward Earthlings.

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      @Nogard13:

      2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
      A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

      • zerj says:

        @Cant_stop_the_rock:

        Where things could get tricky is if he had direct deposit setup and never touched any of the cash. I’d guess at that point the bank interest would be his but there’s nothing criminal.

        • mythago says:

          @zerj: Your guess would be wrong on all counts.

          • kd5jos says:

            @mythago: If somebody puts money in to my account, and I don’t know about it, and I don’t spend it because I don’t know about it, I’d be committing a crime? What crime have I committed?

            2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
            A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

            I never converted it to my own use.

      • hi says:

        @mythago: The IRS.

      • 2 replies says:

        @Cant_stop_the_rock: [CITATION NEEDED]
        2C:20-6 Who’s criminal code is that? Anyone can make up numbers. :-p

        Besides, I’m not sure this fits into lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake.
        By conventional use I agree that keeping your neighbor’s package that the post officer (or fedex/ups etc) delivered to your place by mistake is theft, but in this case it’s technically not a mis-delivery.
        The money was delivered to it’s intended recipient.
        The issue only arose (LONG after it’s successful delivery) when the sender realized they didn’t want to (shouldn’t have) sent it in the first place.
        So it seems to me that the sender was at fault, and should be SOL (rather than having grounds to charge the recipient).

        Look at it this way.
        A police officer can’t absolve himself of shooting a by-standard (let-alone charge said by-standard with THEFT of a bullet) by just saying “I actually intended to point my gun at that other guy” after he pulls the trigger.

        • Naame says:

          @2 replies by: Here is the citation you requested. It is not directly from the government, but hopefully it will satisfy you.

          [www.newjerseycriminallawattorney.com]

          One thing to note here guys is that this is NJ law. There are some states that cannot charge you for a crime if property is delivered by mistake. Not sure if that makes a difference for anyone involved with this story, but I thought you should know.

          • mythago says:

            @Naame: “There are some states that cannot charge you for a crime if property is delivered by mistake” – the law in New Jersey also does not say that you can be charged with a crime if property is delivered by mistake. The crime is in property being delivered by mistake, your knowing that it was delivered by mistake, and nonetheless keeping it for your own purposes.

            If the UPS guy delivers your Amazon package to me, and I call Amazon and say “hey, please send me a return label so I can get this guy his books,” or I leave the box on your doorstep, I’m not a thief. If I keep your books, I am.

            So if this guy had given them direct-deposit information for a savings account he never used and didn’t even know about the mis-deposited checks, he would NOT have committed theft. He knew and he apparently arranged to get and keep the pay he wasn’t entitled to. Big difference.

        • Hadouken says:

          @2 replies by: You mean bystander.

    • thezone says:

      @Nogard13: After reading multiple articles I figured it out. He took money out of the retirement fund. When he called Fidelity he claimed to be an employee. That’s how he was charged.

    • Archangelo says:

      @Nogard13: There is extensive case law on this type of larceny in both state and federal decisions. It is a crime that constitutes a traditional form of “embezzlement” or “unlawful withholding” where one knowingly withholds the property of another with the intent to permanently appropriate the property to his own use. In a nutshell, the guy knew that he wasn’t working for Avaya and wasn’t supposed to be getting paid by them, so keeping the money was a crime. As for companies like Verizon, they should also be criminally prosecuted, but it is too much work for an Assistant District Attorney to pursue such a case, particularly when they have a docket full of rapists, muggers and other miscreant products of the explosive teen pregnancy epidemic gripping our nation.

  2. floraposte says:

    Actually, they didn’t sue him, they pressed charges–that’s why he had something to plead guilty to.

    • Skaperen says:

      @floraposte: They pressed charges for what crime? Is there a CRIME for taking something being given to you? Now if they had a reason to believe he acted fraudulently to get this, that’s another story.

      • floraposte says:

        @Skaperen: They pressed charges for theft, and he was found guilty. The investigation was triggered when he called them to ask them to give him more money.

      • mythago says:

        @Skaperen: Yes. It is a CRIME to take something given to you when you know it was given to you by mistake, isn’t yours, and you keep it.

        • strathmeyer says:

          @mythago: Again, citation needed. And you forgot to mention that you aren’t a lawyer.

          • dima7g says:

            @strathmeyer:

            Here’s an excerpt from a New Jersey criminal code (I believe this is where this man lives):

            “A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been … delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

            Section: 2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake

            [lis.njleg.state.nj.us]

  3. savvy999 says:

    Article fails to say, exactly what did he do wrong?

    Ethically there is much to discuss here, but unless he purposefully deceived the company I’m not sure “theft” applies here.

    Is this any different than the proverbial, “someone sent me a toaster in error and I kept it” situation. Someone sent him $470k in checks in error, and he kept it.

    This has come up in other posts, where bank funds get mistakenly put in someone else’s account, and then they are held liable.

    As a teaching moment, what does the law say here?

    • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

      @savvy999:

      2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
      A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

    • treimel says:

      @savvy999:

      If you are receiving paychecks into your account that you know you are not entitled to, and keep them anyway–that’s a crime. I guarantee you that in every state in the union, you can be chargesd with some species of theft or fraud; the statute’s wording would change, but this is prosecutable anywhere.

    • twophrasebark says:

      @savvy999:

      Theft applies whether it be money mistakenly deposited into your bank account or a diamond ring mistakenly shipped to you.

  4. acasto says:

    They should have just hired the Bobs to “fix the problem”.

  5. Meathamper says:

    Serve six years in jail for another company’s mistake… very fair.

    Then again, he should have dealt with this as soon as he saw the first check.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    Let’s take a credit card companies view on this:

    I’m sorry, I can only credit you 3 months employment because you should have caught the mistake earlier.
    Don’t take that 3 months credit as an admission of something we did wrong, it’s we who are doing you a one time favor.

  7. Tim says:

    “Corporate accounting is sure as hell going to notice 305, 3 … 26.13, Michael!”

  8. corkdork says:

    Perhaps he should pull a Verizon, and offer them a partial credit back — perhaps the current tax year, as it’d make their job easiest (no changes to prior year’s returns).

  9. Liam Kinkaid says:

    Hmm, I think you can apply this to another current story on Consumerist. The one about Verizon continuing to bill for canceled service. Yes, the CSRs are crediting every month, but what’s to stop the ex-customer from paying one month, then turning around and slapping a theft suit on Verizon? Perhaps the prosecutors can recommend Verizon’s CEO spend 6 years in prison.

  10. eddieck says:

    Avaya isn’t a telemarketing company. They sell expensive phone systems.

  11. Cant_stop_the_rock says:

    I think it’s sad that people are defending the guy here. If a company did something like this to an individual, you’d all be ready with the pitchforks and torches. The guy kept money that wasn’t his. He’s a criminal. He deserves the punishment that was recommended.

    • sleze69 says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: Are you serious? There are stories like this posted everyday where companies keep their customer’s money. How often are the CEO’s of those companies convicted of theft and sent to jail for 6 years?

      • floraposte says:

        @sleze69: He called up the company, claimed to be an employee, and asked for an early transfer of “his” money. It’s not exactly analogous.

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

        @sleze69:

        Yes I’m serious. I don’t condone it when companies take money they’re not entitled to. It usually doesn’t fit the legal definition of theft, but it still isn’t right. This guy’s actions did fit the legal definition of theft, and it’s appalling that people would defend him.

        @ecwis:
        He spent it

        [www.nj.com]

    • TheWillow says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: I don’t think people are defending the guy so much as they are sarcastically pointing out the hypocrisy in company interactions with individuals.

      Yeah, we’d be up in arms if the company did this to an individual, and the company would totally get away with it. While two wrongs don’t make a right, it’s a little hard to get worked up about the injustice against the corporation, since, well, justice is being served.

    • ecwis says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: If he hasn’t spent any of the money, then he’s not a criminal. The article only says that he “banked” the money and says nothing about spending it.

      • mythago says:

        @ecwis: Really? So if the UPS guy accidentally delivers me your Amazon order by mistake, it’s perfectly OK for me to keep the books on my shelf and it’s not theft if I haven’t gotten around to reading them?

        If I convince the valet that your nice Jaguar is actually my car, that’s perfectly legal as long as I don’t drive it anywhere?

        You don’t actually have to be a lawyer to get that this is illegal, y’know.

        • ecwis says:

          @Cant_stop_the_rock: In that case, he’s a criminal.

          @mythago: It’s perfectly fine to keep the books until Amazon realizes their mistake and asks for the books back. It’s not your responsibility to return them especially since it may cost more money than the value of the books. Jaguar incident is fraud.

          @exploded: I wouldn’t consider it theft, I’d consider that fraud.

      • exploded says:

        @ecwis: If I called the bank, claiming that you had authorized me to withdraw funds from your account, and the bank sent me your money, would you consider it theft, even if I never spent a penny of it?

        I definitely would.

        • ecwis says:

          @exploded: Oh, I didn’t read your entire comment. Under NJ law, that would be considered theft as well. Here’s the applicable statute:

          2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
          A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

      • floraposte says:

        @ecwis: The law differs from you on that, and they go by the law.

        • ecwis says:

          @floraposte: No it doesn’t. The law doesn’t say you have to return the item, a person is only guilty of theft if “he converts the property to his own use.” So if the books are just stored on a book shelf and not read, then I don’t think that would be considered theft.

          • mythago says:

            @ecwis: Yes, it would be. You don’t think those books look nice on my bookshelf? And that Loeb Library edition you paid for sure does impress my friends.

            The point of the law is to distinguish between people who get things misdelivered to them and don’t try to keep or benefit from the items, and thieves. I’m not a thief just because your package touches my doorstep. I’m also not a thief if I leave it there while I try to get Amazon to pay for the return shipping. I am if I know that the stuff should have gone to “ecwis, One Libertarian Plaza”, isn’t mine and I decide I’m going to keep it.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @Cant_stop_the_rock: should he pay the $400k back? yes.
      but jail time?

  12. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    There’s plenty of reasons why it’s not legal for him to keep the money…while IANAL, I would think at least there’s a breach of contract or something like that.

    Employers pay employees for their labor. If you don’t provide any labor, you aren’t entitled to any pay. So if you receive pay without having provided any labor, you’re not entitled to keep it.

    • thezone says:

      @YouDidWhatNow?: I don’t think it was ethical for him to keep the money. I’m wondering how it was theft? I think they are entitled to their money back but I would assume this would be handled through civil law not criminal law.

      • Cant_stop_the_rock says:

        @thezone:

        2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
        A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

        • thezone says:

          @Cant_stop_the_rock: Thank you. Since he knew the money was being delivered by mistake it became criminal. Great find.

        • blash says:

          @Cant_stop_the_rock: “and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof.”

          Meaning, if:
          1) I send you $500 by accident
          2) You put it under your mattress
          3) I come by afterwards and ask for it back
          4) You say “I won’t give it back to you because of you and not because of me because your company was a shitty company to work for and you made my girlfriend leave me and you sell weapons to terrorists…”

          Then that’s theft. But if in 4) the guy says “sorry, I thought it was a gift so I spent it, if I had any left I’d give it back to you” then that’s not theft because he didn’t mean any harm to the person who gave it to him by mistake.

          • billy says:

            @blash: But holding on to the money for years in an interest-bearing account (or otherwise, for that matter) sure does sound like it would fit the elements.

  13. shepd says:

    What kind of job at a telemarketers pays over $100,000 a year AFTER taxes minus the bonus?

    That’s ridiculous. Telemarketers in my city pay about $20k a year, sometimes $30k if you’re good at selling.

    • thezone says:

      @shepd: Avaya is a telecommunications company not a telemarketing company.

      • shepd says:

        @thezone:

        Hmm, I know they made phones, I just assumed they telemarketed them as well due to the editor’s statement:

        Anthony accepted a job at New Jersey telemarketing company Avaya Inc.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @shepd: I guess they never got any complaints about him and nobody that signed up under him ever canceled!

    • morlo says:

      @shepd: What kind of idiot who can get a 100k/year job screws up his lifetime chances of employment over a something that he knows he will get caught for

    • krom says:

      @shepd: This. I’d be an obnoxious cold-calling script-reading asshole on the phone all day for that kind of money!

  14. usa_gatekeeper says:

    My US company reimbursed a Canadian employee for his expense reports over a long period of time …. they didn’t figure out that while he was reporting expenses in Canadian Dollars, they were reimbursing him in US Dollars. [It was at an advantage to the employee at the time].

    The employee never said anything so this went on for several years until he changed jobs. The company later figured it out and tried to get money back from him, but failed. I still laugh about it.

  15. theblackdog says:

    Unfortunately the article doesn’t say it, but what the hell was he doing during the time he was getting the money? He had to have noticed he was getting free cash, did he ever bother to find out why?

    I am guessing he didn’t bother or he did and decided to take the money anyway, so yeah, it’s fraud.

  16. GTI2.0 says:

    Avaya isn’t a telemarketing company, they make telephone systems. They used to be part of AT&T and were spun off when they also spun off Lucent.

  17. Esquire99 says:

    It seems to me that there is a fairly clear difference between this and the situation in which you get a free toaster, magazine, etc. in the mail. For one, FTC regulations explicitly allow you to keep these “gifts” that are mailed to you. Here, the issue isn’t a “gift” that you’ll later be billed for, but a payroll check that he filled out paperwork to receive. Essentially, he had an active part in initiating the disbursements of the checks, and he had every reason to know they were being sent in error. Further, it’s not clear but it seems they might have been direct deposited directly into his account. I suspect, though I can’t say for sure, that this definitively removes it from the scope of the FTC rules. I also suspect that the fact there was at least a short prior relationship before the deposits began may have some significance.

    • mythago says:

      @Esquire99: I can’t see how FTC rules would apply at all. The FTC rules are to prevent people from sending you things you didn’t want and then demanding payment.

      • Esquire99 says:

        @mythago:
        I agree. I just didn’t want to make a definitive statement without pulling and reading the FTC rule. I do find it interesting that some people think that a “free” toaster and $400k+ in checks/direct deposits are analogous.

  18. Anonymously says:

    In a related note, you don’t have to actually break anything to be charged with “breaking and entering”.

  19. ilves says:

    Well, he definitely owes them the money back. I’m not sure about filing charges against him UNLESS they asked for it back first and he did not return it. If the company did that I think they’re free and clear to file charges. He knowingly accepted money that he knew he was not supposed to receive.

    • mythago says:

      @ilves: If I steal your car, you don’t have to ask me to give it back before you call the police.

      • Esquire99 says:

        @mythago:
        “Police Station”
        “Yes, someone stole my new car. They took it right from my driveway.”
        “Sir, have you contacted the thief and politely asked him to return the car to you?”
        “Well no, he’s a thief, why would I do that?”
        “Sir, I’m sorry, but we can’t help you until you politely ask the thief to return the car.”

        • mazzic1083 says:

          @Esquire99: That seems to work in most school playgrounds, maybe we should have cops be more like teachers stuck on recess duty

        • mythago says:

          @Esquire99: There are actually places where a 911 call probably goes like that.

        • samurailynn says:

          @Esquire99: I’ll preface this by saying that I don’t think the guy deserves to keep the money, but let’s look at it this way…

          “Police Station”
          “Hello – I wanted to report a theft. My next door neighbor stole my baseball and my frisbee.”
          “Did you see them take the items?”
          “Well, I didn’t see the individual, but the items went into their fenced backyard after I tossed them in the air.”
          “Have you tried asking your neighbor to give them back?”
          “Well no, my neighbor is a thief, why would I do that?”

          • mythago says:

            @samurailynn: Not following the analogy. You don’t “see” an individual receive money from a paycheck or direct deposit into their bank account.

            • samurailynn says:

              @mythago: But the company sent him money, just as a person might throw a ball into someone else’s yard. Like I said, he didn’t have the right to keep the money, but it’s also not his responsibility to track down the company and make sure they get their money back. I’m really just saying the company should at the very least ask for the money back before they sue/press charges.

              It’s quite a bit different than a person actively breaking into a car on someone else’s property, hot wiring it to get it started, and then driving away with it.

  20. diasdiem says:

    Did he by any chance look like this?

  21. Thaddeus says:

    $470,000 over five years would be 94 grand a year. Is my math right? That job paid $94K a year? For telemarketing? Someone tell me that I’ve overestimated.

  22. leastcmplicated says:

    I cant believe people are siding with the guy. Just because a company make a mistake doesnt entitle you to say nothing. Hows this any different than accidentally taking someone’s bag at the grocery store, realizing it and doing nothing about it? He did nothing wrong? wow, thats *really* stretching it.

    • Skaperen says:

      @leastcmplicated: Asking for the money back is one thing. And maybe they did. But charging him with a crime … tell me what the crime is … is it a crime to receive free money?

      • Ratty says:

        @Skaperen: it wasn’t free money. it wa s apayroll error. And yeah, it IS a crime to knowingly take money not meant for you.

      • coren says:

        @Skaperen: It was more that he tried to pull more money from them that he wasn’t entitled to – there are links to where he asked the bank to give him more cash.

  23. DefineStatutory says:

    Remember kids…if a company you don’t work for gives you half a million over a coulpe of years, you should probably call someone.

  24. nbs2 says:

    Did they try to ask for the money back or did they just go straight to the lawsuit? Can’t the SFC get at least that much before reporting this?

    • floraposte says:

      @nbs2: The SFC didn’t report it–it’s a wire report from the AP, which virtually all accounts of this are. The NJ Star-Ledger at least offes a little more depth: [www.nj.com]

    • billy says:

      @nbs2: He wasn’t sued. He was prosecuted. This article talks about how it took 11 months from discovery of the crime to do the investigation and arrest him. [www.cfo.com]

      The charge was theft by deception.

      • Skaperen says:

        @billy: How is this theft? What did he steal?

        • Ratty says:

          @Skaperen: nearly a half of a million dollars. I can’t fathom how you’re not getting this.

          • coren says:

            @Ratty: I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but it’s very counterintuitive that if I’m uninvolved in the action, if something is given to me, that I could be stealing. In New jersey, the law says that him not telling the company/returning the cash is theft – in other states it might not.

            Which doesn’t make it ok, or morally acceptable, but I can understand why some are finding it hard to see it as theft.

            • Ratty says:

              @coren: That’s the thing. it wasn’t given to him. it was misplaced money that should have never been there. A gift’s a gift–this wasn’t a gift in any way. The man knew damn well it wasn’t legitimately his money.

              • coren says:

                @Ratty: It was given to him – it wasn’t intended as a gift, but they did give it to him. My work gives me a paycheck every two weeks, but it’s not a gift either.

                But like I said, it’s not morally/ethically right what he did, just that it’s easy to see why people have difficulty seeing it as theft.

                • Ratty says:

                  @coren: No, it as in no way legally given to him. it was misplaced in his account. Your workplace knowingly and intentionally allows you to have a paycheque. had this company known, they wouldn’t have been depositing. they were unknowingly continuing to place money into that man’s bank account and the man knew exactly that he was never entitled to the cash.

                  It’s really *not* easy to confuse the issue if you think.

                  • coren says:

                    @Ratty: It was legally given to him, his keeping of it was illegal – but it wouldn’t be in every state, nor is it very intuitive to think “someone gives me money, even by mistake, that’s theft!”. Which is what this case boils down to (well that and his blatant attempt to draw money from whatever company account he tried to pull from)

                    • billy says:

                      @coren: The New Jersey ordinance he was charged with has been posted in these comments repeatedly. Theft of mislaid property comes from English common law and most (all?) states have laws against it.

                    • billy says:

                      @billy: 2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
                      A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

                    • coren says:

                      @billy: I’m aware, that’s why I specified.

                      It’s still very counterintuitive to think it’s stealing when you don’t give back something that was given to you by mistake (and they don’t ask for it back). Which isn’t to say it’s morally acceptable in any way, but just that it makes sense to me that people wouldn’t think of it as theft.

  25. edosan says:

    Wow — whatever Avaya does, I’m assuming they do it as well as they do their payroll.

  26. Beef Supreme says:

    This is like a reverse Milton Waddams scheme, I LOVE IT!

  27. JGKojak says:

    He is guilty of fraud, not “theft”.

    I would argue:
    1) There is SOME mutual responsibility here. The company are a bunch of nitwits for employing/paying a guy they didn’t have working for them. The guy is certainly at fault for not bringing attention to the issue.

    2) The company should have filed a civil claim. Sending the guy to jail seems like it will make it HARDER for him to pay the money back.

    3) He should only be responsible for half the money. The company should take the loss as having some responsibility for being idiots in the first place.

    • mythago says:

      @JGKojak: No, he is guilty of theft. “Your victim was an idiot” is not a defense to theft.

    • billy says:

      @JGKojak: >>>The company should have filed a civil claim. Sending the guy to jail seems like it will make it HARDER for him to pay the money back.

      How do you figure? In my experience, the threat of jail time makes it MUCH easier to get the money back. Nobody wants to go to jail. People will gladly pay back their ill-gotten gains to avoid it.

  28. ben says:

    i wonder if he paid taxes on this money

  29. [DFX] Deimos says:

    I would have put the money in an interest bearing account and then kept the interest!

  30. PrimeMovr says:

    Eee’s a witch, burn him!!

  31. pittpanther says:

    I wonder if the IRS is paying attention. Did he pay taxes on this (extra) income?

    What an idiot. If he didn’t want to return the money, he should have placed every extra penny into a separate account – if Avaya ever came a’calling, he could easily say “Here’s all your money.”

    He never should have touched the retirement account. He should have considered that to be “lost money” – a cost of doing business…

  32. sevenwhitehorses says:

    one does not always loose in accepting a check. i friend of mine was the vp of a large bank in hawaii and he related a time a check was sent out to someone. the letter was mistakenly put into a PO box of another person with the same name but different box number. the bank tried to get the money back but the court found in favor of the individual who cashed the check.

  33. Mr.Duke says:

    This story sounds phony. That being said, Anthony is a criminal. He knew he had no business getting that money. One phone call to the company would have ended the fraud. … this story is similar to the guy that continued to accept his dead mother’s social security checks. He never called the social security dept. to say his mother died. … after the few years, social security figured out the scam and the crook is serving time in jail.

  34. Malicious A says:

    lol. this reminds me of the time about a year ago that i switched job codes. We were able to see our pay stubs, before the checks came out so I checked it. And about fell out of my chair when I noticed they were going to pay me $36,000. The funniest part was, they didn’t include both weeks in the paycheck. so that was for one week.

    First thing the next morning, I was on the phone with payroll telling them to cancel the check and I actually had to explain to them why $36,000 was wrong.

    i knew that taking the money would have been WRONG. This guy clearly knew he was receiving the money and shouldn’t have taken it. he knew he was wrong or he wouldn’t have plead guilty. After all, pleading guilty is an admission of guilt. funny how that works.

  35. 2 replies says:

    I can see how he got himself in trouble by pleading GUILTY, but I don’t see how this is THEFT at all.
    Unless, that is, he wasn’t an “at will” employee, and had a contract saying they would pay him only if he provided his time/service, but even then said contract would/should have been void once the company and he had agreed that he wouldn’t be working.

    I mean, any unsolicited items sent to you are by law yours to keep. And being that electronic deposits are merely an extension of mailed checks, why unsolicited deposits are considered THEFT is beyond me.
    I mean, if that’s the case then anyone that uses PayPal or ING or another service that deposits <$1 as a verification method would be liable, right?

    • coren says:

      @2 replies by: Well for two reasons. In New Jersey, because he knew they didn’t intend to pay him, he did commit theft – that’s the law there. Whereas “gifts” by mail are intended to be yours, then they try to sneakily make you pay.

      Also he tried to take money from some retirement account

    • billy says:

      @2 replies by: 2C:20-6. Theft of property lost, mislaid, or delivered by mistake
      A person who comes into control of property of another that he knows to have been lost, mislaid, or delivered under a mistake as to the nature or amount of the property or the identity of the recipient is guilty of theft if, knowing the identity of the owner and with purpose to deprive said owner thereof, he converts the property to his own use.

  36. pinkbunnyslippers says:

    $470,000/55 months = $8,575 net pay per month.

    Anyone know if Avaya is hiring?

  37. Gracegottcha says:

    Maybe he could have kept all of the money in the bank and returned it when they caught on, keeping the interest. That would be some pretty good interest I guess.

  38. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    I’m going to drop a twenty in a misc men’s room and note the serial number. then when someone uses it I’m going to sue them. Thanks for the plan!

  39. MyPetFly says:

    Anybody else here thinking of George Costanza and his non-existent job?

  40. nstonep says:

    They should’ve caught this in YEAR 1. Though most of avaya’s services are akin to independent contractor work. Dude is a moron for keeping the money; it’s not like it was 5 bucks a month, it was about 75k a year. He should go to jail.

  41. Ronin-Democrat says:

    since they had his account info and likely had his social number he accepted and went to the job at least one day.

    My question is, did he pay taxes on the income.

    He should have gotten a better lawyer and had it knocked down to a civil case with a confidentiality agreement and give them 50% of the money back…..

  42. Carlee says:

    The guy shouldn’t have kept the money, but that is one messed up company. Don’t they have some kind of timekeeping system tied with their payroll system so that people don’t just get paid willy-nilly?

    A bunch of comments ago, there was a discussion about whether keeping a book on your shelf without reading it would count as theft, as opposed to reading the book. I guess there may be a distinction, because what if you find an item and hold on to it, waiting for someone to claim it? Like a lost-and-found? You shouldn’t be charged with being in possession of a stolen item, even if the item was stolen from the original owner. So “intent” is probably part of the definition – if you pretend to be an employee (as this guy did, when he tried to cash in retirement or whatnot), then it would be a crime.

    But if the money was direct deposited, and he never touched any of it, he could claim that he didn’t know. Sure, might sound dumb that you didn’t notice that much extra money, but at least it would be a possible (though not probable) defense.

    • econobiker says:

      @Carlee: If you have a stolen item you can be charged with its possession unless you can prove that it was frauduently sold to you. Even if you can prove that you did not know the item was stolen you still lose it to the original owner.

      Case in point people who purchase VIN cloned vehicles which are found out. Typically these people purchase the vehicles fair and square, the titles are legit but the vehicle has fake VIN’s made up and applied on it. The people lose the money they gave to the seller (even if that seller didn’t know it was cloned which is sometimes what happens when a dealer sells a clone VIN car) and lose the vehicle in lue of being prosecuted for posession of a stolen vehicle.

      This has even happened in the case of vehicles stolen decades before – several cases involving 1960’s to early 1970’s Corvettes and at least one 1960’s Mustang ended up this way. Even though these vehicles passed through multple owners the terminal final owner loses the vehicle to the original owner from whom it was stolen.

  43. econobiker says:

    Question: If, prior to the investigation, this guy had sent a notice informing the company that he had quit and separated from the company would have they ever figured the problem out?

    It looked like he got greedy by trying to access his retirement account for an early withdrawl which triggered the investigation.

    With a documented letter to HR that he was separating from them he could have probably cashed out his retirement account with no problem though the free money train would have ended…