Theft by False Pretenses – California Penal Code Section 532
More and more I’m seeing people being charged with the crime of theft by false pretenses. This basically has to do with one person tricking another person into giving them money or property and that person not performing their end of the bargain. For example, if someone was claiming that they could perform certain services for another person – whether it be doing some work at their home – doing some work at their job, or giving them something of value, and the person that made that promise had no intent of doing that and took the other person’s money, then that would be theft by false pretenses.
This is a different crime than grand theft or robbery. Because in those crimes, the person is actually taking the property away from the other person without their consent, either by force, fear or they’re just going and taking it and the person doesn’t see it. That’s why false pretenses case, the other person’s actually willingly giving the money or property thinking that they’re going to get something in return. In reality though, the person that’s taking the property never has any intent of fulfilling any promise that they’ve made or giving that person anything, but instead, they’re tricking them by false pretenses in order for that person to give them money or some sort of a property, and then claiming that they don’t know the person, or they didn’t have anything to do with that contract or relationship.
As far as defenses to theft by false pretenses cases, obviously if the defendant that’s charged with this case has actually performed the obligation that they were supposed to or provided the goods, or whatever they were supposed to do in exchange for what the other person gave them, then this would be a defense. Sometimes I see scenarios where a person is charged with theft by false pretenses, and in reality, they actually did what they were supposed to, but the other party was just not satisfied with what they did and was angry because they don’t believe that they fulfilled what they were supposed to, so then they go to the police and claim the other person didn’t do anything. In these type of cases, obviously this potentially could be a defense because then we could show the prosecutors – well wait a minute, they didn’t have any intent to trick anybody. The other party just wasn’t satisfied with whatever it is that that person did. In this scenario, this is more of a civil dispute and should not be filed as a criminal case. Criminal cases – when it comes to these type of offenses – where someone is accused of trying to con another person – should only be charged if there really is evidence that the person never intended to perform or give what they were supposed to and that this was just all a ruse in order for them to get money or property. In this scenario, if someone is not satisfied and they’re angry then they can take that person to civil court and try to get back whatever it is what they gave or try to get a portion of that back, but it should not be filed as a criminal case. Criminal cases should not be used in order to get money or solve civil disputes between people.
The police, prosecutors and judges are very wary of individuals who are trying to use the criminal system in order to get the upper hand when it comes to a civil dispute. This is where an attorney like me comes in and has to show the prosecutors and the judge that there’s more than meets the eye here – that there’s another version of events that has taken place and that this case should not be charged at the criminal level and should be dealt with on a civil basis. If they can be convinced of this, then the case will be dismissed, and they would tell the alleged victim that they need to go and file a lawsuit if they feel that they have been treated. But a lot of times these people go to the police and they only give a one-sided version and they don’t give any of the information that shows that the other side has an argument. Obviously, this is where your attorney comes in – to fight for you – to speak for you. A lot of times I intervene in these cases with the police and I’m able to give the other side of the story and then when the prosecutors get the case they realize that they’re not going to file a criminal case on this because this person wasn’t trying to deceive the other party, but instead the other party is just not satisfied with whatever it is that they did.
Contact a Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorney
So, if you’re charged with theft by false pretenses and you have a defense in your mind, then you need to sit down with an attorney who’s experienced with these cases – give him all the facts, don’t put a spin on it, let them know what happened and then let them help you and educate you as to whether or not you can defend yourself. If you can’t defend yourself, if they’ve got the goods on you and they’re going to be able to prove the case, then there’s other strategies that need to be employed to negotiate. A lot of times if we can make the aleged victim whole and give them back whatever it is they are missing based on the transaction, then the prosecutors will take this into consideration and not prosecute you, or mitigate the case down to something less than what they charged you with and you can avoid going to jail and a lot of the other penalties that come along with a criminal case. So, make the phone call. Take the first step towards getting your matter resolved and getting yourself out of the criminal justice system. Contact our Los Angeles criminal defense law firm for a free case evaluation.
Categorised in: Criminal Defense