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Alternative Theories of Larceny

The laws in the State of New York allow for the prosecutor to file charges based on alternative theories of larceny including:

  • Larceny by Bad Check;
  • Larceny by False Promise
  • Larceny by Trick
  • Larceny by Embezzlement
  • Larceny by False Pretense
  • Larceny by Acquiring Lost Property

Types of Larceny in New York

If you are being investigated for any larceny charge in New York City, including Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx, or Manhattan, then contact a criminal defense attorney experienced in aggressively fighting these types of criminal charges. Call Rochelle Berliner to discuss the particular facts of your case and possible defenses.


NY Larceny Information Center


Larceny by Embezzlement

New York law provides for alternative theories of larceny including a charge for larceny by embezzlement. Larceny by embezzlement means that a person wrongfully withholds, obtains, or takes property from an owner when, having been entrusted to hold such property on behalf of the owner, such person thereafter, without the permission or authority of the owner, intentionally exercises control over it in a manner inconsistent with the continued rights of the owner, knowing that he has no permission or authority to do so. See People v. Yannett, 49 NY2d 296 (1980).


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Larceny by Trick

New York law provides for an alternate theory of proving larceny called "larceny by trick." Larceny by trick means that a person wrongfully obtains, takes, or withholds property from an owner when that person engages in some trick, artifice, or fraudulent device, and thereby obtains possession of the property, and exercises possession over that property for a period of time, however temporary, in a manner inconsistent with the continued rights of the owner. See People v. Olivo, 52 N.Y.2d 309 (1981).


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Larceny by False Pretense

New York law provides for a different way of proving larceny which is called "larceny by false pretense." Larceny by false pretense means that a person wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds property from an owner when that person makes a false representation of an existing or past fact while aware that such representation is false, and obtains possession and title to the property as a result of the owner's reliance upon such representation. See People v. Drake, 61 N.Y.2d 359, 362, (1984); People v. Norman, 85 N.Y.2d 609, 618 (1995).


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Larceny by Acquiring Lost Property

The State of New York also provides an alternative way of proving larceny when the taking involves lost property. Larceny by acquiring lost property means that a person wrongfully withholds, takes, or obtains property from an owner by acquiring lost property. A person acquires lost property when he or she exercises control over property of another which he or she knows to have been lost or mislaid.

The crime can also be alleged when a person exercises control over property of another which has been delivered under a mistake as to the identity of the recipient or the nature or amount of the property without taking reasonable measures to return such property to the owner.


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Larceny by Bad Check

The criminal charge of larceny by bad check can be prosecuted in the State of New York when a person wrongfully obtains, takes, or withholds property from an owner thereof when he or she commits the crime of issuing a bad check. The criminal offense of issuing a bad check is often called obtaining property by a worthless check or uttering a worthless check in other jurisdictions.

In many of these cases the person accused had no intention of bouncing the check. In some cases, the check bounced because the person had an unexpected, short term financial emergency that occurred after the check was written but before it bounced. In other cases, a check written from a business account bounces because another person in the company took the funds out of the bank before the check cleared.

New York Penal Law § 190.05 provides for criminal penalties for issuing a bad check. The criminal offense of issuing a bad check is a Class "B" misdemeanor in the State of New York. The criminal charge requires that the person who utters or passes the check must know that there are not sufficient funds to cover the check when it is presented at the bank. In certain cases, even the act of stopping payment on a check can result in a criminal charge.

New York Penal Law § 190.05(1)(b) provides that the person who utters the check believes or intends that the time he or she writes the check that the check will be refused by the drawee upon presentation at the bank.


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Larceny by False Promise

The laws in the state of New York provide for an alternative way of proving Larceny called "Larceny by False Promise." The criminal charge of "Larceny by False Promise" requires proof of the following:

  • that a person wrongfully withholds, obtains or takes property;
  • pursuant to a scheme to defraud;
  • when he obtains property of another by means of an implied or express representation;
  • the representation is that he or she or a third person will in the future engage in particular conduct;
  • at the time the representation is made the person does not intend to engage in such conduct or, as the case may be, does not believe that the third person intends to engage in such conduct.

Under Penal Law § 155.05(2)(d), the defendant's belief or intention that the promise would not be performed may not be established by or inferred from the fact alone that such promise was not performed. Such a finding may be based only upon evidence establishing that the facts and circumstances of the case are wholly consistent with guilty intent or belief and wholly inconsistent with innocent intent or belief, and excluding to a moral certainty every hypothesis except that of the defendant's intention or belief that the promise would not be performed.


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Finding a Qualified Attorney for a Larceny Charge in New York City

If you are under investigation for any kind of larceny in New York City, then contact Law Office of Rochelle S. Berliner. Queens criminal defense attorney Rochelle Berliner represents clients accused of all kinds of theft crimes in Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan.

You can receive a free review of your case by calling 718-261-5600 or sending an online message for a no obligation consultation.

Free Consultation

Submit your information using this form to schedule a free consultation with attorney Rochelle Berliner.

Name* Phone* Email* Subject* Message*

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