In Virginia, obtaining money or property by false pretenses is a larceny crime. It can be charged as misdemeanor or a felony offense, and both carry harsh sentences. Therefore, if you are facing this situation, its important that you speak to a false pretenses defense lawyer immediately.
Virginia law defines false pretenses as obtaining money or property with the intense to defraud the owner of money or property. It also makes it a crime to use false pretenses or a token with the intent to obtain money, gift certificates, or other property.
Types of False Pretenses Crimes
Generally, false pretenses involves the use of deception, tricks, misrepresentations, and false promises. There are four main elements to the crime of false pretenses. These include:
- The accused had the intent to defraud one or more individuals.
- The accused committed an actual fraud on one or more individuals.
- False pretenses were used to commit the fraud.
- The false pretenses caused the individual to give up his property or money.
If the values of the money or property is less than $200, this crime is charged as a Class 1 misdemeanor. However, if the value is $200 or more, it is a Class 4 felony.
Its important to note that obtaining a signature under false pretenses is a separate offense and is charged as a Class 4 felony no matter the value of the money or property illegally obtained.[Related: Federal Criminal Defense Attorney]
Examples of False Pretenses
Numerous actions could be considered a crime under Virginia law. Below are some examples of fraudulent actions.
- Using a fraudulent bank withdrawal slip form for another person’s account
- Pretending to be a utility company employee offering to help an individual open an online account
- Paying for goods or services with a check and then stopping payment on the check
- Sending an email to an individual pretending to be a credit card company to obtain his/her financial information
Penalties for False Pretenses Crimes
Because of the deception involved in these crimes, you may face harsher sentencing if convicted for obtaining property or money by false pretenses. Punishments may include:
- Misdemeanor Charges. Up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.
- Felony Charges. Up to 20 years in prison and/or up to $2,500 fine.
If you have previously been convicted of another larceny or false pretenses charge, your first false pretenses charge may be treated as a second offense and result in a harsher sentence.
Furthermore, you may face enhanced penalties for a second false pretense conviction if you have other larceny crimes on your criminal record. Instead of Class 4 felony, it may be charged as a Class 6 felony. This is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine. The potential for harsher sentencing is even more reason to have an experienced false pretenses defense lawyer on your case.
False Pretense Defense Lawyer in Virginia
Are you facing charges or obtaining property or money by false pretenses? Let our experienced, knowledgeable false pretenses defense lawyers represent you. To discuss your case and learn more, contact King, Campbell, Poretz, Mitchell.