It can't be a cash question, you could get an hour of excellent legal advice for $1000 even in a big city.
Also (and this applies to all legal 411 queries on HN), where is the firm incorporated/located? Rules vary across different US states, and there are lots of HN folk who are not in the USA at all. I'm only guessing you're American when I mention 4 numbers, for all I know you could be in Uzbekistan. Even if I was a lawyer, how would I know which rules govern your case, or whether I was close enough to offer assistance?
And why don't you have a throwaway email address in case someone can give you an exact answer or refer you to a report of an identical case? Depending on the nature of your business, it might even be appropriate to involve the police based on the story you tell.
the "right" thing to do is to suit them, but that is not our DNA, and would jeopardize the company we have now
I'm having trouble taking this seriously.