What Does Theft By Deception Mean in Georgia?
We’ve all been tricked before: A friend that distracts you to steal a fry. Clicking on an email that’s coded in malware. Or sending money online to a person that has no intention of paying you back. Trickery is everywhere. But what qualifies as theft by deception?
Each state has its own legal definition of theft by deception, but in this article, we’ll break down what theft by deception means under Georgia law.
What Defines Theft By Deception in Georgia?
According to O.C.G.A. §16-8-3, theft by deception is when a person intentionally deceits another person to take their property under false pretenses. This also includes a person offering a service they have no intention of doing or even selling another person’s property when they are not the actual owner.
So What Does This Mean?
The key component to theft by deception is the intent. Was false representation made? Did the alleged perpetrator make any promises of repayment? If the alleged perpetrator promised future payment, they did not commit theft by deception under Georgia ruling.
Deception involves conning anyone to either pay for service they have no intention of doing or to sell the stolen goods. If there’s financial gain through deceit, there is a chance the individual could be charged with theft by deception.
How Does This Differ From Theft By Taking?
In essence, theft by taking and theft by deception are both theft. However, theft by deception has another layer. Well, deceiving the person. Let’s say a person comes into your home and steals one of your most expensive pieces of jewelry. This is theft by taking.
However, if the person stole your jewelry and then took it to a pawn shop for money, this would be considered theft by deception in Georgia. By stealing an item and then selling it as if it was their own property, they therefore used deceit for monetary gain.
[RELATED: Theft By Taking Explained]
Another example would be if a person offers to perform a service – let’s say repairing your roof. The “roof repair person” claims the job is complete when in reality they did not actually perform the service. Because they accepted payment for a service they claimed to have done without actually doing it, they could be charged with theft by deception in Georgia.
Penalties for Theft By Deception
Depending on the value of the stolen property, the charge could either be a misdemeanor or a felony. For stolen property worth under $500, you could be charged with a misdemeanor if proven guilty. The charges for a misdemeanor offense are a fine and up to one year in confinement. The confinement could either be in prison or a county jail.
If the property, however, is valued at over $500, the perpetrator could be charged with a felony if proven guilty. The penalty for a felony charge for theft by deception in Georgia is one to ten years in prison. However, the cost of having a felony could have bigger consequences, such as finding future employment.
Our Investigators Can Bolster Your Theft By Deception Case
The facts and circumstances are key for a theft by deception case. Interviewing witnesses, proving the alleged perpetrator had intent to deceive, and/or proving their history of deceitful crimes are some of the few ways you can prove the theft was done intentionally by deceiving you and/or others.
This is where hiring a private investigator can help. Licensed in Georgia and South Carolina, our team of investigators help uncover the information you need for your case. For more information, schedule a free consultation today.