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Suppose that it came to my attention someone had stolen from my company, or committed some other crime that only hurts my company. Is it legal for me to send a letter asking for compensation in return of not suing nor pressing charges?

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  • Is it a publicly-traded company? Are you the only one with a stake in the company? – User37849012643 Oct 9 '20 at 9:45
  • The letter is in behalf of the company, so if the criminal accepts the offer, whoever has stake in the company will be compensated. Does it still makes a difference if the company is publicly-traded or not? – lvella Oct 9 '20 at 9:53
  • Yes, fiduciary duty: "is a legal term describing the relationship between two parties that obligates one to act solely in the interest of the other.". – User37849012643 Oct 9 '20 at 9:58
  • I thought of that, but don't understand how it is not in the interest of the shareholders to be compensated by the harm done to the company (assuming the practice is not illegal). – lvella Oct 9 '20 at 10:23
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Is it legal for me to send a letter asking for compensation in return of not suing nor pressing charges?

Yes, provided that by compensation you mean the equivalent (or close thereto) of what he stole. Your mention that the letter is on behalf of the company is crucial.

Although definitions of extortion make reference to "[acting] under color of office", U.S. v. Harris, 916 F.3d 948, 955-956 (2019) notes that states as well as Congress adopted an extended definition so as to include [extortion by] private individuals.

One incurs extortion also when seeking to obtain more than is due. See, for instance Black's Law Dictionary (4th edition) just prior to the entry for "Extortion". Thus, a surcharge on administrative grounds would be reasonable, but the company ought to ensure that the surcharge does not land it in the "more than is due" zone. The same applies in the event that stealing the property caused provable losses. See also conversion.

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  • After receiving the compensation, if I notify the police even if I promised not to, will I be in breach of contract? – lvella Oct 9 '20 at 11:51
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    @Ivella "if I notify the police even if I promised not to, will I be in breach of contract?" Even worse: It would be actionable as fraud. See Tessier v. Rockefeller, 33 A.3d 1118, 1124-1125 (2011) ("a promise made without such an intention is fraudulent and actionable in deceit under the rule stated in [Restatement (Second) of Torts] § 525. This is true whether or not the promise is enforceable as a contract.", brackets added). – Iñaki Viggers Oct 9 '20 at 12:04

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