Obtaining property under false pretenses is a felony in North Carolina. There are a large number of crimes that you can be charged with in North Carolina (as well as other jurisdictions). Crimes are usually placed in categories, such as homicide, theft crimes, property crimes, violent crimes etc. In this blog, we will talk about a specific theft crime and go into a little bit of detail about what it is and how it is defined. Larceny is probably the most well known and most charged theft crime, but that is not what we are referring to.
In this blog, we will talk about obtaining property under false pretenses. We will give a general overview of what this crime is, but like all of our blogs, this blog is intended for informational purposes only and not intended as a substitute for the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.
What is obtaining property under false pretenses?
Obtaining property under false pretenses is covered under North Carolina General Statute 14-100. In that statute it states:
- “If any person shall knowingly and designedly by means of any kind of false pretense whatsoever, whether the false pretense is of a past or subsisting fact or of a future fulfillment or event, obtain or attempt to obtain from any person within this State any money, goods, property, services chose in action, or other thing of value with intent to cheat or defraud any person of such money goods, property, services, chose in action or other things of value, such person shall be guilty of a felony”
What does that mean?… What tend to think of as fraud often falls into the category of obtaining property under false pretenses. Below are a couple of examples:
- Defendant claims to be a real estate investing consultant. He offers consultation services for a fee of $10,000 and for that fee he advises that he has some inside information about some upcoming developments in the area. He also claims to have connections to assist in obtaining permits, and as needed changes to zoning. He charges an additional fee for every property that the “client” invests in. Defendant in actuality has no knowledge of any special information, has not special connections and has never intended on giving any actual assistantance to his client.
- Defendant starts a Go Fund Me page for a former classmate whom he claims is sick and doesn’t have any health insurance. He advertises on social media and gets several friends to donate. He keeps the money for himself, and there is no sick classmate – it was all a lie.
Punishment for Obtaining property under false pretenses
Obtaining property under false pretenses is a felony, and follows the North Carolina felony sentencing guidelines.
- If the value of the property obtained is $100,000 or less, it is punished as a Class H felony
- If the value of the property obtained is more than $100,000, it is punished as a Class C felony.