Rhode Island Larceny Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Rhode Island Larceny Lawyer

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

Schedule a Consultation

Larceny charges in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island criminal law, Larceny may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-1. This offense penalizes the conduct of taking, stealing, and carrying away the property of another with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the property.  A Larceny is more commonly referred to as stealing or theft.

Legal elements of larceny by stealing

In order to be convicted of Larceny by Stealing, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant did take, steal and carry away property of another;
  2. with the specific intent to permanently deprive the alleged victim of the property taken; and
  3. that the property exceeded a value of $500.

Under Rhode Island criminal law, there are several different types of conduct or behavior for which a person can be charged with committing a Larceny. Each type of conduct or behavior has its own unique elements, however, in the end, no matter which form of conduct or behavior a person commits, he or she can be charged with and may be convicted of a Larceny.

Furthermore, although each type of Larceny punishes different types of conduct or behavior, the penalties, if convicted, are determined by the value of the property in question. 

Larceny by receiving stolen goods in Rhode Island

Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Larceny by Receiving Stolen Goods may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-2. This offense penalizes the conduct of receiving or obtaining control of any stolen money, goods, securities, chattels or other property, from another person, knowing the property to be stolen.

Examples of larceny by receiving stolen goods

Larceny by Receiving Stolen Goods may be committed in several ways, but the main element of this crime is that the person receiving the property knows or has reason to believe that the property was stolen.  This offense may also be committed when a person receives property without knowing it is stolen but later discovers it is stolen and does not intend to return it.  

Examples of larceny by receiving stolen goods:

  • Your friend gives you a as a gift a pearl necklace which he told you he stole from the jewelry store he works for;
  • Your brother asks you to store or conceal a TV and some money for him that he stole, and you do so;
  • A person sells you a high-end Prada purse from the back of a van in an ally for such a low price that a reasonable person would have suspected that the purse was stolen;
  • You buy a radio system from your friend who told you he stole it from the electronics store where he used to work;
  • You ask your sister for $100 to buy a pair of shoes you want and when she gives the money to you she tells you she stole it from her boyfriend’s wallet.

Legal elements of larceny by receiving stolen goods

In order to be convicted of Larceny by Receiving Stolen Goods, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant did receive possession or control of property belonging to another;
  2. that at the time of receipt, the defendant knew or had reason to believe that the property was stolen; and
  3. the defendant had the specific intent to permanently deprive the victim of the property.

Larceny by obtaining property by false pretenses or impersonation

Under Rhode Island Criminal law, Larceny by Obtaining Property by False Pretenses or Personation may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-4. If a person obtains from another designedly or by any false pretenses, any money, goods, wares, or other property, with intent to cheat or defraud, or he or she impersonates another or falsely represents himself to be the agent or servant of another and receives money or other property intended to be delivered to the person so impersonated or falsely represented, the person will be guilty of Larceny by Obtaining Property by False Pretenses or Impersonation.  

Examples of larceny by obtaining property by false pretenses or impersonation

A person can be found guilty of Obtaining Property by False Pretenses or Impersonation in several circumstances.  The important distinction for this type of Larceny is that the property is obtained by the person making a false representation of a past or existing fact, knowing the fact is false, with the intent to defraud another person. In other words, one person makes an intentional false statement in order to defraud the other person into passing title, or ownership, of certain property over to them based on reliance on the false statement(s).  

Examples of obtaining property by false pretenses of impersonation:

  • Paying for a TV with a personal check knowing that you do not and will not have the funds when the check is cashed or that the bank account is closed;
  • Cashing a check or withdrawing money from the bank by personating yourself as your sister and using her identification;
  • Filling out and using a check that belongs to someone else to buy groceries without that person’s consent;
  • Filling out bank or loan documents which contain false information such as income or debt figures, in order to receive a loan or mortgage;
  • Representing yourself to be another or affiliated with something you are not affiliated with in order to obtain financial information (ex. You call a person and say you are calling from the cable company and you ask for the person’s financial information to set up automatic payments, you obtain the information but actually use it to drain the money from the account);
  • You sign something with someone else’s signature representing that you are that person or an authorized signer in order to receive the property for which you are signing (ex. You are hired to clean the gutters on someone’s house and while you are there a delivery guy comes and asks if you live here and if you could sign for a delivery. You say “yes” and sign for it);
  • You represent to another that the item you are selling is worth more than it actually is and the other person buys it for that amount (ex. You have several different art figures that look identical to a famous figurine maker and you represent to the buyer that they are genuine and sell them for $1,000 but they are actually fake and only worth $15).

Legal elements of obtaining property by false pretenses or impersonation

In order to be convicted of Obtaining Property by False Pretenses or Impersonation, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant made a false statement of a past or existing fact;
  2. knowing it to be false;
  3. with the specific intent to defraud that person; and
  4. that the false statement caused the person to pass over the property to the defendant. 

Potential punishment if convicted of larceny

Under Rhode Island law, for punishment purposes, it does not matter whether a person is convicted of Larceny by Stealing, Receiving Stolen Goods, or Obtaining Property by False Pretenses or Impersonation.  This is because the punishment is not determined based on how the Larceny was committed, but rather on the value of the property, money or goods taken.

If the property value does not exceed $1,500, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 1 year.  If the property value exceeds $1,500 but is less than $5,000, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than 3 years. If the value exceeds $5,000 but is less than $10,000 the defendant shall be sentenced to not more than 6 years. If the value exceeds $10,000, or if the property was a firearm, the defendant shall be sentenced for not more than 10 years. These penalties may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-5.

In addition, if the Larceny involved a victim who was age 65 or older, and the value of the property exceeds $500, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 2 years, but not more than 15 years.  If the property value exceeds $500, the defendant shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not less than 1 year but not more than 5 years.  These penalties may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-5.

Larceny from a person

Under Rhode Island criminal law, Larceny from a Person may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-7.  This offense penalizes the conduct of taking, stealing and carrying away the property of another from the person or in the person’s presence with the intent to permanently deprive the person of the property taken.

Legal elements of larceny from a person

In order to be convicted of Larceny from a Person, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. the defendant took property of some value;
  2. from another person or in that person’s presence;
  3. with the specific intent to wholly and permanently deprive that person of the property.

Larceny from a Person is distinguished from Robbery because Larceny from a Person does not involve an element of force, violence, intimidation or fear.   To be guilty of Robbery, the defendant must have taken the property from another person or in that person’s presence by the use or threat of use of violence.

Potential punishment if convicted of larceny from a person

Under Rhode Island criminal law, a conviction for Larceny from a Person is a felony.  A convicted offender shall be sentenced to not less than 1 nor more than 10 years in prison.  This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-7. 

Larceny by fraudulent conversion

Under Rhode Island criminal law, Fraudulent Conversion may be found under Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-3. Fraudulent Conversion is a non-violent offense aimed at financial and/or personal gain that occurs when a person exercises unauthorized personal use or control over the property of another for which he or she was entrusted with.  Fraudulent Conversion is a crime that borders between a Larceny and Embezzlement. 

Legal elements of fraudulent conversion

Fraudulent Conversion generally occurs in situations where the person is in lawful possession of the property for a specific use, but then converts or misappropriates the property in a manner not authorized by the owner with the intent to defraud and deprive the owner of the property. Some examples include:

  • Borrowing a car from a person then using it as collateral or security for a mortgage loan;
  • Refusing to return a borrowed lawn mower;
  • Taking assets from another person and putting them into an unauthorized trust;
  • Borrowing a truck and selling or never returning it;
  • Holding a diamond ring for another in exchange for lending them $1,000 with the understanding the person with pay back the $1,000 and get the diamond ring back, but instead selling the diamond ring. 

In order to be convicted of Fraudulent Conversion, there must exist strong evidence of the following legal elements:

  1. that the defendant was entrusted with the property in question for a specific use;
  2. that the defendant came into possession of the property in a lawful manner; and
  3. that the defendant intended to appropriate and convert the property to his or her own use and permanently deprive that person of the use of that property.

Potential punishment if convicted of fraudulent conversion

Under Rhode Island law, a conviction for Fraudulent Conversion may be a misdemeanor or a felony.  If the value of property fraudulently converted was less than one hundred dollars ($100), the crime is a misdemeanor for which the defendant faces a fine of not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and/or a sentence of imprisonment for not more than 1 year. 

If the value of the property equals to or exceeds one hundred dollars ($100), the crime is a felony where the defendant may be fined not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000) or 3 times the value of the property, whichever is greater. This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-41-3.

If you have been charged with a Larceny by Receiving Stolen Goods offense and need representation, contact Rhode Island Theft Defense Attorney John L. Calcagni III by email or call today at (401) 351-5100 to schedule a free consultation.

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