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Theft Of Services Is Not A Common Offense In The State Of Virginia

Interviewer: Have you ever dealt with that kind of situation where there’s a client that maybe didn’t pay for a particular service and is now facing charges of theft?

Brian Geno: I have seen it several times where a person will be going to the Metro and they’ll jump the turn-style and then they’ll try to get on the Metro. They will be prosecuted in court for that. It is not like a huge amount of money to ride the Metro without paying. The court is interested in trying to deter them, so they will go ahead and punish it. A person will wind up paying large fines. Sometimes they’ll end up with, in additional to a conviction for theft, they’ll wind up having to pay $100, $200, something like that so, they have a conviction and a fine. All because they stole, tried to steal the service of the Metro. That is not the only thing. You could bring in a person to fix your house and give them a bad check. By doing that you have committed a crime because that check is itself, it is not so much stealing the service, but paying for the service with a bad check. When it comes to receiving a service and then not paying for it, and no attempt to pay, I don’t see that as much.

Oftentimes the Courts Will Opt for a Civil Resolution to Theft of Services

The court many times opts for a civil resolution to that. They say, “Sue them if you didn’t work that deal.” That is reinforced by what I see as the government helping the person who took it through, this is the example, there’s a regulatory agency in Virginia that regulates contractors. When contractors do services and don’t get paid they have to go out and collect all the money. On the other hand, if the person who receives the service makes a complaint that it was not perfect or it wasn’t just right the regulator contractor will go after the contractor despite the fact that the contractor hasn’t been paid and the whole dispute is really over money and not about the quality of services. I think many times the government doesn’t give any sort of compassionate or sympathetic response to the contractors who performed the service and didn’t get paid. It is not always that way but I see it that way many times. You have to take a legal strategy that is carefully made so that it doesn’t actually get you into trouble with these regulatory agencies for stuff like that.

Ask me do I see theft of services. Yes. Do I see people who perform the services get, ultimately, taken? Yes. I think the government helps to make it unfair for those contractors.