In general, theft by deception is a crime involving the use of false pretenses to obtain someone else’s property. The property can range from a social security number to money. A person uses false pretenses when they mean to create or reinforce a false belief regarding law, material facts, intentions, or value of property.
Theft by deception occurs in Georgia when a person obtains property of another by using any artful practice or deceitful means. They do this with the intent to permanently deprive the owner.
According to Georgia law, a person deceived when they intentionally:
- Create or confirm an individual’s impression of either a false material fact or fake past event
- Do not correct the false impression or existing fact or past event the person created or confirmed
- Stop another individual from acquiring important information regarding the disposition of the property involved
- Promise to perform services the person does not intend to do or knows they will not do. Failure to perform without intent to deceive or use such a promise to commit a theft is not a crime under this particular law.
Examples of theft by deception include:
- Billing for work not done
- Accepting payment for something the perpetrator did not do
- Selling property without telling the individual there was an existing lien on it
The punishment for theft by deception depends on the worth of what was stolen. Theft by deception is a misdemeanor if the amount stolen is less than $1,500.01. The punishment for a misdemeanor conviction is one year in county jail and/or $1,000 fine for a misdemeanor offense.
Theft by deception is a felony if the amount stolen is over $1,500, unless the judge determines that the crime should be lowered to a misdemeanor. If the amount is between $1,500.01 and $4,999.99, the punishment is 1 to 5 years in prison. A defendant faces a prison sentence of one to 10 years if the amount is at least $5,000, but less than $25,000. A felony conviction involving the theft of over $24,999.99 will result in a sentence of imprisonment for at least two years and up to 20 years.
Legal representation is important to have when you are facing a theft charge in Georgia. Contact a Georgia criminal lawyer immediately for help with your criminal charge.