False Pretense Versus Larceny by Trick

Essay by RUSSELLRONIUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, July 2005

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According to Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Law false pretenses are "false representations concerning past or present facts that are made with the intent to defraud another; also: the crime of obtaining title to another's property by false pretenses" (Webster, 1996). The accused must know that statements made are false, whereas the victim believes them to be true. A victim's property must be given to the accused relying on the misrepresentation and must be to the detriment of the victim and the benefit of the accused. Merriam Webster's Dictionary of Law defines larceny by trick as "larceny of property obtained by the use of misrepresentation esp. in getting an owner to hand over something in the belief that it is for temporary purposes" (Webster, 1996). These two crimes sound the same. They are similar, but they are actually quite different in one aspect. "Under false pretenses, title is intentionally passed to the accused by the victim in reliance on the misrepresented fact.

In larceny by trick, only possession is surrendered because of some artifice, trick, deception, or fraud. The victim expects to get the property back (Chamelin, 2003).

A comparison of examples is the easiest way to see the difference. An example of false pretense would be if Sam has a counterfeit Rembrandt painting and he tells Ashley, a collector of fine paintings, that it is an original and that he will sell it to her for $1500.00. Ashley does not know it is a fake, but Sam does. Sam came into possession of Ashley's money to her detriment and his gain, therefore this is a false pretense case. On the other hand if Paul wants to sell a computer to make money and goes into a Rent to Own store and rents a computer for the week under a false...