Committing Theft under False Pretenses

criminal stalking a woman alone in a dark street alley

Committing Theft under False Pretenses

There are various ways to commit theft and one of those is by stealing from others by false pretenses. What are false pretenses? It means that somehow, you create a false story and the victim believes your fake version of events/issues, and willingly gives you their property. However, since it was under false pretenses, your taking of the property is viewed as theft. This article will provide a brief overview of the elements of the crime; however, if you have been falsely accused of this crime, immediately seek the counsel of an experienced criminal attorney.


How do you prove theft by false pretenses?

This crime is included in the California penal code under section 532. Most importantly, the prosecution must prove to the court that the defendant defrauded someone of their property with the intention to do so. Furthermore, the defendant must have intentionally created a false pretense, during which the victim was made to believe a reckless statement, false information, or was given a lack of information necessary to make an informed decision. There must also be proof of the false pretenses, which the victim fully relied on.



If the prosecution proves every single element of the crime, the defendant can be found guilty by the judge/jury. The kind of penalties the defendant would then face, upon being found guilty, depend on the circumstance of the crime. If less than $950 was defrauded, then the defendant faces a misdemeanor. However, if more than $950 was defrauded, the defendant faces either a misdemeanor or a felony, with the felony requiring even steeper punishment.


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