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What Are The Different Types Of Theft Charges?


Theft charges range as far as the imagination can go, starting with shoplifting. Shoplifting offenses themselves can vary from a misdemeanor charge to a fourth degree felony charge to a third degree felony charge. It gets termed something else when it goes above a third degree charge, but it really just comes down to the amount of goods that have been stolen. It would be called a theft of property, within the shopping context. Theft charges go all the way into cybercrime, embezzlement and obtaining goods via fraud. There are myriad ways that a person can steal because when people come up with ideas of how to make money, other people come up with creative ideas of how to steal money. It really comes down to what is being stolen and how it is being stolen; that really determines what charge is brought.

Property crimes start off with shoplifting and then there is burglary and robbery, which ventures into whether the item was stolen by theft of services, which is something that happens to lawyers every now and then when someone hires them to do something, but then does not pay. It can happen to anyone from a cab driver to a contractor to a dentist. There are a number of different ways in which services can be stolen. Computer crime and fraud go hand in hand. I am currently representing a Nigerian gentleman who is allegedly involved on an online scam, where a person receives those emails. Those crimes are real and there are real people who are charged with those sorts of crimes.

Is There A Common Scenario You Frequently Deal With When It Comes To Theft?

It comes down to four criteria: the person had to do it, they could not help themselves, they could not resist, they had it coming, or the last one is that they don’t know. Those are the most frequent stories people tell as an explanation for what they have been accused of.

What Are Some Examples Of White Collared Theft?

Examples of white collar theft include using computer records and access to a computer system to steal from an employer, or a security violation such as insider trading, fraud, insurance fraud or basically anytime someone is not actually dealing with the person they are stealing from. The person uses mechanisms to defraud them.

What Are The Major Differences Between Robbery And Burglary?

Robbery occurs in an armed fashion where someone is threatened with physical harm to compel them to give up possessions for money. Burglary is entering into another person’s home to commit a crime.

Does Theft By Extortion Exist?

We are talking mainly about the blue-collar crime or lack of a forceful, in-person crime. White-collar crime is an entirely different topic that is very extensive and includes everything from money laundering to insider trading, embezzlement and probably even extortion. It typically comes somewhere between the two. Extortion is when a person forces someone to pay them money or perform some act under a threat that some secret of theirs will be revealed. If a woman was working as a call girl, and one of her clients threatened to reveal her secret life to family, friends or her fiancé if she either did not pay him or continue their relationship, then that is something that would qualify as extortion.

A politician was allegedly texting explicit photos of himself to women all over the place. Those women could have come back and threatened him that if he did not give them $50,000 or a government job, that they would tell his wife or the press. Those are all things that would qualify as extortion. Anytime someone is threatening to reveal secrets to obtain money, and in a way that is basically threatening someone with force and with pain, is extortion. In an armed robbery or an assault in robbery, the person threatens to beat someone up and cause them pain, whereas in an extortion case, the person threatens to embarrass them and obtain money out of that threatened pain.

What Would Happen In A Scenario Where Someone Received Stolen Goods?

This scenario would almost always be a felony charge. If someone was working in a garage and received stolen radios, or if someone’s boyfriend stole jewelry and gave it to them as a present, then the question would be whether the person would have known or should have known that it was stolen property. It is all about a person keeping these matters off their record because once there is a theft defense on it, their honesty will be questioned by everyone.

If the matter in the superior court is a felony crime, then one option that is sometimes available is to place the client into a pre-trial intervention program, in which case they will be placed on probation, and if they stay out of trouble the charges can be dismissed. We may try and get the person into a program known as drug court, if the crime was born out of drug addiction. This will not make the charges just go away, but it will result in keeping them out of jail, if they are doing something out of a proven history of drug addiction.

On the other side of that is alcohol addiction in which there is a drugs and alcohol rehabilitation act that can sometimes at the very least provide people an opportunity to get their alcoholism treatment finished before they have to deal with the court case. Those can sometimes stall the court case, and can sometimes eliminate the court case. In the past there was no program in the municipal courts, so the person was actually better off being charged with a low-level felony than they were with a misdemeanor. If someone went to Municipal court over shoplifting, then we could try to get it reduced to an ordinance, but if that could not happen, or if that town did not do that, then there would be no other option.

The superior court has a pretrial intervention program known as “conditional dismissal” which came into play about a year ago. In this program a first-time offender could enter into a probationary program and if they stayed out of trouble for a year, the charges could be dismissed. There are ways to keep these theft offenses off the record.

Do People Have A Good Defense Or Any Defense At All When They Are Caught With Stolen Goods?

A person who was found in possession of stolen property would probably not have a great defense. This is an intersection of technology and criminal law, where technology really provides the solution in a way that criminal law never can. With the “find my iPhone” app, there is really no reason to steal an iPhone now. Someone can lock another person out, change their password, wipe their phone or locate the person if they do not know what they are doing. It makes stealing that sort of device more dangerous. It is the same thing with a lo-jack on a car and with all sorts of other equipment.

I recently found out that they can embed a laptop with a code so that, if it is stolen, it can be located when it accesses the internet. It is the same with other products. When there has been a massive theft of a shipment of TVs or something like that, the serial numbers from those items are known to agencies, and the sharing of information will eventually track every crime down. It is simply a matter of desire and enough computer power to connect everyone. There would never be stolen property again if there was a database of all the stolen serial numbers and when a serial number popped up, there was a way to automatically check it against stolen property and notify the police.

Is It Possible For Someone To Not Realize The Seriousness Of The Cyber Crime They Have Committed?

This is a possibility. There are occasions where a person contacts someone, and says they owes that person some money, but they are going have one of their customers pay the person instead. They then ask if their “customer” can send a check for that amount. The person takes the check, not realizing it is a craigslist scam that their friends are involved in, and accepts the money. They convert it into money for someone else so they get involved in anything from cybercrime to money laundering to fraud that they had no intention of being involved in. There are also people who are accused of these crimes who did not do anything which would be seen as morally culpable or deserving of time, but it can be interpreted as a criminal offense.

I had a client who was involved with mortgages at F H A mortgages who sold his business to people online who he had never met before, and turned over the business bank accounts. They said they would cut him a check from the company’s finances. They cut him a check and he took it to a check cashing place to cash it. He got paid the money and then the check bounced. He had just sold his company. They took all the money out of the account, and wrote him a faulty check to pay for the company, and now he is charged with check fraud and passing bad checks. There are just people out there who from the moment they wake up till the moment they go to sleep, are thinking about ways to take money from other people, and sometimes other people unwittingly get caught up in that.

For more information on Theft Charges, a free initial consultation is your best next step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (908) 210-9755 today.

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