Brief Fact Summary. No facts were provided in the portion of the case provided by the Dressler handbook.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. Theft by false pretenses occurs where the defendant makes a false representation with the intent to defraud the owner of his or her property and the owner is in fact defrauded. As in any other case of fraud, the injured party must have been induced to part with his or her property in reliance on the false representation made by the defendant.
Issue. How can the crimes of larceny-by-trick and false pretenses be reconciled?
Held. Larceny by trick occurs when a defendant obtains possession of, but not title to another’s property by fraud or trickery. Alternatively, false pretenses occurs where a defendant, through false representations and with the intent to steal, obtains both possession and title to property.
Discussion. The difference between larceny-by-trick and false pretenses is that, in cases involving a defendant obtaining title in addition to possession, false pretenses will be charged. A defendant who commits a crime of false pretenses acts through fraudulent and deceitful means to acquire both title and possession of property. This seemingly little distinction is the difference between a crime of larceny-by-trick and false pretenses.