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Making False Statements

Orange County Theft by False Pretenses Attorney

If you or a loved one is being charged with or investigated for theft by false pretenses, you should immediately contact Orange County theft by false pretenses attorney William Weinberg. California Penal Code §532 makes it a crime for an individual to make false financial statements or representations to defraud another person of his property or obtain credit. Theft by false pretenses is a serious crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of three years. So, if you’re being charged with it, you should immediately seek legal representation.

What is Theft by False Pretenses?

An individual commits theft by false pretenses when he makes false statements or representations that convince another person to voluntarily handover money, personal property, real property, or perform labor.

For example, if you’re selling your business and you advertise it as making $25,000 in profits per month, when you know that it’s barely bringing in $3,000 in profit, you may be guilty of theft by false pretenses because you misrepresented the state of your business to obtain money from selling it to another person.

For the prosecution to establish the guilt of a person accused of theft by false pretenses, the prosecution must prove the following:

  • The defendant knowingly
  • Makes a false representation
  • With the intent defraud another person of
  • Money, real property, personal property, or labor or services, and
  • The other person relied on the representation
More Examples of Theft by False Pretenses

For instance, if a person advertises a drug as being able to cure cancer, when in fact, the maker of the drug knows that it does not cure cancer, yet sells it to the public and advertises it as curing cancer. In this situation, the prosecution may bring theft by false pretense charges against the person making such claims in order to convince others to purchase (transfer money) the product in reliance on the seller’s claims

Another example of theft by false pretenses is when an individual advertises a real estate building that he wants to sell as being free of any major defects. The individual is successful in selling the property, but upon inspection, the buyer finds out that the building suffers major problems that the seller was aware of. In such a situation, the prosecution may bring charges against the individual for theft by false pretenses because the seller misrepresented the condition of the property he sold.

Crimes Related to Theft by False Pretenses

Here are some crimes that are related to theft by false pretenses. Some individuals may be charged with theft by false pretenses, as well as the following crimes:

  • 476 Check Fraud
  • 484 Petty Theft
  • 487 Grand Theft
Common Defenses to Theft by False Pretenses

If you’re being charged with or investigated for theft by false pretenses, you should politely exercise your right to remain silent. Investigators typically try to gather as many incriminating statements as possible from you to use against you. So, please exercise your right to remain silent and immediately contact Orange County theft lawyer, William Weinberg. Many of the accused that we represent think they’re smarter than law enforcement and make statements that they think are innocent, but the statements end up hurting them later down the road.

The best defense that Orange County theft attorney William Weinberg can make for your case is that you did not have the intent to defraud at the time you made the statement or representation. This is a strong defense because the prosecution must prove that an individual intended to defraud another person. If the prosecution is not able to make this showing, your attorney may be able to negotiate a favorable plea deal for you or have the charges against you dropped.

A second defense that your attorney may be able to use is that you did not make any false statements or representations or that you did not know that the statements or representations you made were false. This is so because theft by false pretenses is a form of fraud, and fraud typically requires a showing that an individual knew he was making false statements to defraud another person. So, if your attorney can show that you did not know the statements were false or that the statements were true, he may be able to have the charges against you dropped or obtain a favorable plea deal for you.

A third defense that Orange County theft attorney William Weinberg may be able to make is that although you made a false statement, the party to whom the statement was made did not rely on the false statement or representation. This is a strong defense that could lead to the charges being dropped because to prove theft by false statement, the prosecution has to show that the victim relied on the statement. If your attorney can show that the victim did not rely on the statement, the charges against you can be dropped, or you may be able to obtain a favorable plea deal.

Punishment for Theft by False Pretenses

California Penal Code §532 punishes theft by false pretenses differently depending on the dollar amount of the theft that an individual is charged with. If an individual commits theft by false pretenses that results in a loss of $950 or less, the prosecution usually brings misdemeanor theft by false pretenses charges against that person. If convicted of misdemeanor theft, a person can be punished with a maximum of 6 months of imprisonment, as well as fines and restitution. However, if theft by false pretenses results in losses that exceed $950, the prosecution usually brings felony theft by false pretense charges against the accused individual. Felony theft is punished with a maximum of three years of imprisonment, as well as having to pay fines and restitution to the victims of fraud. To summarize, theft by false pretenses is a wobbler, that can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony. The dollar amount of the fraud usually determines whether misdemeanor or felony charges are brought against an individual.

Orange County Theft by False Pretenses Lawyer

Again, if you or a loved one is being charged with or investigated for theft by false pretenses, you should immediately contact Orange County theft lawyer William Weinberg. Mr. Weinberg is experienced in defending those who have been charged with theft under §532. You can contact Mr. Weinberg at (949) 474-8008 to schedule a consultation. During the consultation, Mr. Weinberg will collect the relevant facts in order to formulate a defense strategy for your case. Please, if you’ve been charged with theft or are being investigated for it, exercise your right to remain silent and do not discuss your case with anyone but your attorney.

Client Reviews
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He was open, honest and compassionate (qualities you don't always find in an attorney) and his credentials proved that he is more than qualified to handle this complicated case. JoAnn H.
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Not only did [my case] get resolved with great efficiency, [Mr. Weinberg and his team] were very open with me and kept the lines of communication flowing which I appreciated greatly. Ryan T.
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There are many things about our conversations that told me that bill was an honest guy and knew what he was talking about. Amy C.