Stealing money is a criminal offense according to the provisions of the Penal Code. The punishment for this offense can reach several years in prison. In addition, beyond the criminal sanction, the thief runs the risk of having a financial or civil lawsuit filed against him for the purpose of recovering the funds, and in addition receiving financial compensation for the damage caused by the act of theft.
Sometimes the real difficulty after stealing money is to find the identity of the thief. The Israel Police will not always be able to assist you in this matter, and if it is a theft of a small sum of money, there is a chance that your complaint to the Israel Police will be closed due to a lack of public interest or for some other reason.
Stealing money – the penal code
The Penal Code defines what theft is, what the thief's punishment is, and even refers to specific acts of theft.
Theft is defined in section 383 of the law, as follows:
Theft – what is it?
(a) A person steals something if he –
(1) Takes and carries a thing that can be stolen, without the consent of the owner, fraudulently and without claiming a right in good faith, when he intends at the time of taking the thing to deprive the owner of the thing by permanent deprivation;
(2) Being lawfully in possession of something that can be stolen, on deposit or in partial ownership, he fraudulently hands it over for his own use or that of another who is not the owner of the thing.
(b) In the matter of theft according to subsection (a) there is no defendant who has appointed that the receiver or sender is a member of the board of directors or an officer of the corporation to which the matter belongs, provided that the other circumstances add up to theft.
(c) regarding theft –
(1) "Taking" – including obtaining possession –
(a) by trickery;
(b) by intimidation;
(c) by mistake of the owner and with the knowledge of the taker that the possession was thus obtained;
(d) in a bargain, if at the time of the bargain the finder assumes that it is possible by reasonable means to discover the husband;
(2) "carrying" – including removal of a thing from its place, and in the case of a connected thing – its removal after its complete disconnection;
(3) "Ownership" – including partial ownership, possession, right of possession or control;
(4) "thing that can be stolen" – a valuable thing that is a person's property, and is attached to the real estate – after it has been detached from it.
Please note – a person can be charged with the crime of stealing money if he found the money but did not bother to return the money to its owner, as long as the owners of the money can be located by reasonable means.
Section 384 of the Penal Code determines what the punishment will be for a thief, including in the case of stealing money:
The punishment for stealing money
The thief is sentenced to three years in prison, and if no other punishment is prescribed for the theft due to the circumstances or the nature of the thing stolen.
According to section 384, the penalty for a thief after stealing money is imprisonment for three years, unless there is another, specific provision of the law for the act of theft.
Theft of money by people in power
The Penal Code defines a number of specific offenses designed to deal with people who had some influence or "power" or some status that allowed them to commit the theft, and they abused that power. For example: public figures who stole money from the public treasury, company employees who stole money from the company, etc. In those cases the prison sentences may be particularly high.
Theft by a public servant
390. A public servant who steals something that is the property of the state or something that came into his hands by virtue of his work, and the value of which exceeds one thousand new shekels, is punishable by ten years' imprisonment.
Theft by an employee
391. An employee who steals something that is property of his employer, or that came into the hands of the employee on behalf of his employer, and the value of which exceeds one thousand new shekels, shall be punished by imprisonment for seven years.
Theft by the manager
392. A member of the board of directors or an officer of a corporation who steals something that is the property of the corporation, shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
Theft by an authorized person
393. Whoever does one of these, is sentenced to seven years in prison:
(1) Steals property that he received with a power of attorney to act on it;
(2) Steals property that was deposited with him, alone or with another person, in order for us to maintain excellent security or uses it or in exchange for it, all or part of it, for a certain purpose or gives all or part of it to a certain person;
(3) steals property that he received, alone or with another person, for another person or for his benefit;
(4) Steals from the proceeds of a security, or of doing something with the property according to a power of attorney, when he received an instruction to be used for a certain purpose or to be paid to a certain person.
Theft of money by a lawyer
Recently, the publications in the media about cases of money theft by lawyers are increasing. These are cases where lawyers steal trust funds or they receive funds for the benefit of their clients, but instead of transferring the funds to the client, pocket them.
You can deal with the theft of money by a lawyer through three channels: 1. Filing a lawsuit against a lawyer for the return of the funds; 2. Submitting a complaint against a lawyer to the Bar Association, so that it will deal with him at the disciplinary level (something that can even lead to permanent removal from the Bar Association); 3. Filing a complaint with the police .
In many cases, lawyers are more afraid of filing a complaint with the Bar Association and may prefer to return the stolen funds to the client so that the punishment imposed on them will be lighter.
What to do after your money was stolen?
After stealing money, you should try and understand two main things: 1. Exactly how much money was stolen; 2. Is it known who stole the money?
After an initial inquiry regarding these two points, you should immediately go to the police station closest to your home and file a complaint. It is very important to provide the investigator with all the data you have (references regarding the theft of money, information regarding the identity of the thief if you know this, if a forged document or forged signature was used for the purpose of stealing the money, present the forged documents to the investigator).
In a significant number of cases the Israel Police will not be able to assist you in recovering the stolen funds, whether it is a lack of manpower and handling more serious cases, or because the thief may claim that these are his funds and that there is a civil financial dispute between you (in this case the investigator will direct you to file a lawsuit in court) .
At the same time, it is important to file a complaint with the police because there is always a chance that the Israel Police will do their job faithfully and return the money, and in any case, it will be possible to use the confirmation of filing a complaint regarding the theft of money, and attach it as an attachment as part of a lawsuit filed on your behalf .
If the identity of the thief is known to you – do not delay and immediately file a lawsuit in court. As part of the statement of claim, they should demand to receive not only the stolen funds but also financial compensation. You should also consider filing a request for temporary relief in the form of seizure of the thief's bank account or assets.
If you do not do this, you may find out at the end of the procedure that the thief smuggled the funds or assets to a third party, and even if you win the lawsuit you will not be able to recover from the thief, even if you open enforcement proceedings against him. You must remember that the faster you act against the thief, the higher the chance of getting the funds back, within a shorter period of time.
Stealing money is a felony that can lead to significant prison sentences. The more the theft was done by a person in a more senior position, the higher the prison sentence is likely to be.
After you discover that money has been stolen from you, you should immediately contact the nearest police station and file a complaint. Give the investigator any information that may help the investigation, and as far as you know, specify who stole the funds or whom you suspect.
In addition, as long as you know the identity of the thief, you can file a lawsuit against him for the purpose of recovering the stolen funds. In addition, you can demand financial compensation from the thief for the damages caused to you due to the theft of the funds.