Is it a criminal offense to steal from family?
Question Details: My wife is suffering from addiction. She left the house 2-1/2 years ago when I found out she hadnt been paying bills, some for over a year. I love her and the kids love her but we can't get her to admit her problem and get help. We tried 2 interventions but she was tipped off by her relatives and hid out. We are almost out of resources and trying anything to get her help. She stole thousands of dollars from the family and am thinking the threat of jail or court might make her get help. She collected the rent on our rentals for months but spent the money and didn't pay the mortgages so we lost both houses. She also used a debit card for months after leaving which deducts the money from my checking account; it totals more than $3000.
If the money was in joint bank accounts, or she was listed as one of the landlords on the leases, etc. then this was not theft as a criminal act: she was as entitled to the money as the joint account holder, the other landlord (e.g. you), etc. and so could take it.
If she took money from properties or accounts she did not control or was not an owner/account holder of, however, then it was theft; there is no exception to the theft statutes for taking money from family, and stealing from family is still stealing. So the real issue is whether she took money she had control over or a right to or not; if not, you could file charges against her.