In New Jersey, an individual can be charged with theft by deception under a wide variety of circumstances. For instance, theft by deception can involve collecting Social Security, unemployment, or disability payments to which you are not entitled; soliciting charitable donations that are not intended for that use; cashing a check that is issued to another person; or attempting to collect funds with a fraudulent check. All of these offenses have an underlying theme, which is to derive monetary gain by creating or reinforcing a “false impression.” As the specific behavior that constitutes theft by deception varies greatly, the severity of these charges is also highly variable and is determined primarily by the estimated value of the stolen property, funds, etc. As with most theft crimes, those convicted of theft by deception may be required to pay restitution to the victim(s) in addition to other punishments if ultimately found guilty.
At The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall, our attorneys approach each case with over 100 years of combined experience on both sides of the New Jersey Justice System. With a team including former County and Municipal Prosecutors, several of whom have been named among the Top 100 Criminal Attorneys, Top 40 Criminal Attorneys under 40, and Best Attorneys in America by organizations such as National Trial Lawyers, we have earned these distinctions among our peers through tireless dedication to the practice of criminal defense and an unwavering commitment to achieving the best possible results for our clients. With a convenient office location in Bridgewater, we regularly appear in courts in and around Somerset and Hunterdon counties and throughout New Jersey, defending the rights of the accused. To discuss your case with one of our talented legal professionals free of charge, simply contact our offices anytime at 908-722-1011.
Theft by Deception in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4
Offenses that fall within the realm of theft by deception are outlined in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 of the New Jersey Criminal Code, which dictates the following:
A person is guilty of theft if he purposely obtains property of another by deception. A person deceives if he purposely:
a. Creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention or other state of mind, and including, but not limited to, a false impression that the person is soliciting or collecting funds for a charitable purpose; but deception as to a person’s intention to perform a promise shall not be inferred from the fact alone that he did not subsequently perform the promise;
b. Prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction; or
c. Fails to correct a false impression which the deceiver previously created or reinforced, or which the deceiver knows to be influencing another to whom he stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship.
The term “deceive” does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing or exaggeration by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.
Penalties for Theft by Deception in New Jersey
Second Degree Theft by Deception Charges: punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term ranging from 5 to 10 years and a maximum fine of $150,000
- The amount involved is $75,000 or more;
- The property is taken by extortion; or
- The property stolen is a controlled dangerous substance (“CDS”) and the quantity is in excess of one kilogram.
Third Degree Theft by Deception Charges: punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term ranging from 3 to 5 years and a maximum fine of $15,000
- The amount involved exceeds $500 but is less than $75,000;
- The property stolen is a firearm, motor vehicle, vessel, boat, horse, domestic companion animal or airplane;
- The property stolen is a CDS and the amount involved is less than $75,000 or is undetermined and the quantity is one kilogram or less;
- It is from the person of the victim; or
- The property stolen is a New Jersey Prescription Blank.
Fourth Degree Theft by Deception Charges: punishable by a New Jersey State Prison term of 18 months and a maximum fine of $10,000
- The amount involved is at least $200 by does not exceed $500.
Disorderly Persons Theft by Deception Charges: punishable by a maximum sentence of 6 months in the county jail
Contact our Somerville NJ Theft by Deception Lawyers for a Free Consultation
Accusations for theft by deception can spell serious implications for you personally, professionally, financially, and otherwise. When faced with these potential consequences, it is essential to ensure that you are thoroughly protected. If you or someone you love is facing theft charges in Hunterdon or Somerset counties or elsewhere in New Jersey, contact the law offices of The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall for a free consultation. We are always available to answer your questions.