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What Is Theft by Deception?

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What Is Theft by Deception?

Theft by deception is a type of theft crime where an individual uses false pretenses to gain control of someone’s property, such as stealing another'sSocial Security number by pretending to need it for a government agency or obtaining another's money through a pigeon drop scam. To successfully convict someone of theft through deception, a state must prove four elements.

What Does the Term “Deception” Mean?

The use of deception is the first element of this charge. It involves creating or reinforcing a false belief. The false belief includes deceiving someone as to the:

  • Law
  • Perpetrator's intentions
  • Value of property
  • State of mind

However, deception does not refer to the fact that person promises to do or refrain from doing something.

Deception by Preventing Someone to Obtain Information

An individual can still deceive by preventing someone from obtaining information that would change her judgment or the transaction.

Similarly, it can be deception if someone fails to correct a false impression that he or she caused or reinforced.

Why Was I Charged with Theft by Deception for Using a Credit Card?

Anyone who uses a credit card that was forged, revoked, stolen, or canceled can be charged with theft. Someone can also be charged with theft for using a credit card or line of credit and having no intention of paying the bill.

What Are Some Defenses to This Type of Theft?

Specific defenses to theft crimes depend on the circumstances surrounding the arrest. However some defenses include:

  • Attacking the intent element of the crime. An individual must have the intent to use deception to deceive someone.
  • Asserting that the victim willingly gave the property in question to the defendant.
  • Attacking the victim’s state of mind during the alleged theft.

What Is the Penalty for This Type of Theft?

The specific penalty for theft by deception depends on the state where the person is charged. However, the classification of this type of theft ranges from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Should I Contact a Lawyer about Being Accused of Theft by Deception?

Theft by deception is a complicated charge. Consulting a criminal defense lawyer about a theft by deception charge will help you understand the charge and any possible defenses that you may have.

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 11-28-2016 05:54 PM PST

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