What Constitutes Theft By Deception in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, people can be charged with a crime called theft by deception when they lie about illnesses or engage in other types of deception to induce people to make contributions to them.

While this crime is similar to a general theft offense since it involves intentionally taking the property of others, theft by deception has an added element of trickery or deception. In this type of offense, the victims rely on the lies made by the thief when they give money or property to him or her.

If you have been charged with theft by deception, you should talk to a theft defense attorney at DiCindio Law.

Examples of theft by deception

Cases involving allegations of theft by deception might involve intentional misrepresentations or false impressions. Cases involving false impressions occur when people create misconceptions that others believe are true.

A common example of a false impression theft by deception case is when people eat at a restaurant and then sneak out without paying for their meals. This could be charged as theft by deception because the people gave the false impression that they would pay for the meal but did not.

Theft by deception involving intentional misrepresentation happens when a person knowingly lies or leaves out important information so that victims will rely on what the person said.

Another form of theft by deception is phishing. This occurs when people send messages by text message, phone, or email to potential victims.

The goal is to leave the recipients with the impression that they are a regular company with which the victims regularly deal with to try to obtain their confidential information. Phishing scams commonly result in identity theft charges.

Using stolen credit cards is another example of theft by deception. In this scenario, the thief gives the store employees the false impression that he or she owns the card. Alternatively, the thief might make intentional misrepresentations that they have permission to use it.

Potential penalties for theft by deception

The potential penalties for theft by deception will depend on the value of what was stolen and other details of the case. The typical penalties for theft by deception in Pennsylvania include the following:

  • Less than $50 – Third-degree misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500
  • From $50 to $199 – Second-degree misdemeanor with up to two years in jail and a fine of p to $5,000
  • From $200 to $2,000 – First-degree misdemeanor with up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000
  • Over $2,000 – A third-degree felony with up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000

In addition, if you have a conviction for theft by deception on your record, it will be difficult for you to find a job. Since identity theft and phishing scams frequently are completed on the internet, the federal authorities might be involved in prosecuting the cases.

The penalties handed out by the federal government are frequently stiffer than those handed out at the state level.

Judges will take a number of factors into consideration when they determine the penalty to order for theft by deception, including the following:

  • The seriousness of the offense and any mitigating factors
  • The dollar amount involved
  • The defendant’s criminal record
  • Whether the defendant is a minor or an adult
  • How long the offense lasted
  • Whether valid defenses exist

In some cases, prosecutors might be willing to extend plea offers because of the difficulty of proving the intent to deceive the victim.

Defenses to theft by deception

There are four primary types of defenses available to criminal charges, including excuse, alibi, procedural issues, and justification.

The defenses that might be available to you will depend on the facts of your case. Some examples might include the defendant’s lack of an intent to deceive the victim or the victim’s willing participation. Each case is different and might have different defenses available.

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Contact Our Criminal Defense Law Firm in West Chester, PA

If you are facing criminal charges and need legal help, contact the West Chester, PA criminal defense lawyers at DiCindioLaw, LLC to schedule a free initial consultation.

DiCindio Law, LLC

29 S Walnut St
West Chester, PA 19382
(610) 430-3535

***This blog article is made available by the law firm publisher for educational purposes and to provide general information, not to provide specific legal advice. By reading, you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the publisher. The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant. The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please contact DiCindio Law, LLC for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case. ***