A Paoli contractor recently pleaded guilty to four counts of theft by deception after stealing approximately $500,000 from his customers. He is now facing up to 10 years in state prison.
Theft by deception is a serious crime, but it can be challenging to understand if you are facing charges. You need someone on your side who will fight for your rights. Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer helps people across Pennsylvania face their charges and get the outcome they deserve. Call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case and how we can help.
In Pennsylvania, theft is the crime of taking property that is owned by another person without their consent. Theft by deception under Pennsylvania law is the taking of property by means of the following:
To put it another way, theft by deception involves persuading someone to allow you to take property based upon a false impression.
Theft, including theft by deception, is categorized as a “specific intent” crime. This means that you must intend to permanently deprive the owner of their property by deceiving them. In other words, you cannot be convicted of theft by deception under the following circumstances:
In a theft by deception case, proving the element of intent can be quite challenging for the prosecution. An experienced criminal defense attorney will be able to determine whether the prosecution has sufficient evidence to prove that you intentionally committed theft by deception.
The statute specifically notes certain situations where you cannot be convicted of theft by deception:
As with other crimes of theft, the punishment you face if convicted will be based upon the value of the property you allegedly stole.
Property worth less than $50:
Property worth between $50 and $200:
Property worth between $200 and $2,000:
Property worth more than $2,000:
As you can see, theft crimes are taken very seriously in Pennsylvania. If you are charged with theft by deception over property worth $100, you could face up to two years in prison if you are convicted. Theft involving property worth a mere $2,000 could result in a prison sentence of several years and thousands of dollars in fines.
Your conviction will be a part of your permanent criminal record, which is available to the public. This means that your conviction could cause significant embarrassment for you among your friends and family and the community at large.
A theft conviction can haunt you for years, even after you’ve served your time in prison and paid your fines. This is especially the case for a felony theft conviction - it could make it difficult to find a job, rent a home, or receive certain public benefits.
The prosecution has the burden of proving that you committed theft by deception - you don’t have to raise any defense. That said, a good defense can ensure that you get a fair result. Here are some of the common defenses that may apply in your case:
Theft by deception is a complicated crime for the prosecution to prove. If you don’t have a lawyer, the prosecution has a tremendous advantage, as they are more likely to get a conviction even if their case against you is weak.
Hiring a lawyer can level the playing field. They can evaluate the evidence against you, challenge the prosecution’s case, and formulate an effective defense. An experienced criminal defense attorney will know the law and how to navigate the criminal justice process to make sure you get a fair result.
Theft by deception is a serious crime with very serious consequences. However, there is hope - you are innocent until proven guilty, and you are entitled to a fair result. Philadelphia criminal defense attorney Lauren Wimmer will fight for your rights every step of the way. Call Wimmer Criminal Defense Law at 215-712-1212 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation - the sooner you contact us, the sooner we can help.