LARCENY AND GRAND LARCENY

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Hinman Law Blog

Larceny

Larceny and Grand Larceny

Larceny is governed by Massachusetts General Laws c. 266, Section 30. In order to be convicted under this statute, the state must prove that you took and carried away property that was owned or possessed by someone else, and that you did so with the intent to permanently deprive that person of the item. Taking or carrying away property means that you transferred the item from another person’s control to your control. The definition of “property” under the statute is very expansive, and includes, but is not limited to, money, bank notes, bonds, personal belongings, deeds, and pets. The penalty for Larceny is predicated upon the value of the stolen property. If the value is under $250, then the crime is a misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty is 1 year in jail and/or a $300 fine. If the value of the item exceeds $250, otherwise known as “Grand Larceny,” the maximum penalty is 5 years in prison or 2 years in jail if the case is prosecuted in district court, and/or a maximum fine of $25,000. If the victim is over 65 years old, or the stolen property is a firearm or trade secret, the penalties may be increased.

Larceny from a Person

Larceny from the person is the wrongful taking of property from another person, or from another person’s control. The elements of this crime are the same as Larceny, except in this case the property must be stolen directly from a person, or from that person’s presence or control. If any type of force or threat is used, then the crime is Robbery, not Larceny. An example of Larceny from a Person is stealing the wallet out of someone’s back pocket without the use of any force. The maximum penalty for this crime is 5 years in state prison, or 2.5 years in jail if the case remains in district court. There are enhanced penalties if the victim is elderly.

Larceny by False Pretenses

Larceny by False Pretenses is defined as obtaining, by false pretenses, the property of another with the intent to defraud. In order to be convicted of this crime, the prosecution must prove five elements:

  1. That you made a false statement of fact;
  2. That you knew or believed the statement to be false at the time you made it;
  3. That the statement was made with the intent that the person to whom it was made would rely on it;
  4. That the person to whom the false statement was made did rely on it; and
  5. That as a result of such reliance, the person to whom the statement was made parted with the property.

Unlike Larceny, this crime does not require that you intended to permanently deprive the victim of their property. For example, making false statements to obtain a loan would be Larceny by False Pretenses. The maximum penalty for this crime is 5 years in state prison, or 2.5 years in jail.

Motor Vehicle Larceny

In order to be convicted of Motor Vehicle Theft, the prosecutor must prove that you took a motor vehicle that was owned or possessed by someone else, and that you did so with the intent to deprive that person of the vehicle permanently. The state is not required to prove who owned the vehicle, as long as it proves that you did not. The value of the vehicle is not relevant. This crime carries a penalty of up to 15 years in prison, or 2.5 years in jail, and/or a $15,000 fine. If convicted, you will also be required to pay restitution to the vehicle’s owner or insurer for any damages caused.

Larceny by Embezzlement

Embezzlement is often considered a “white collar crime” and is governed by Massachusetts General Laws Ch. 266, Sec. 30. Embezzlement is defined by the following elements:

  1. The defendant was in a position of trust or confident and, in such position, was entrusted with possession of personal property which belonged to another person;
  2. The defendant, as a result of being in the position of trust or confidence, was enabled to and did take that property, or concealed it, or converted it to his/her own use without the owner’s consent; and
  3. The defendant had the intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property.

Common relationships where this crime is committed include employer-employee, beneficiary-trustee, and debtor-creditor. The penalty for Larceny by Embezzlement depends on the value of the property embezzled. In most cases, the maximum penalty for Embezzlement is 5 years in state prison or 2 years in jail and/or a $25,000 fine. The court will most likely impose on you the duty to pay back whatever you stole.

If you have been convicted of a Larceny offense in Boston, Wellesley, Newton, Billerica, Needham, Dedham, Norfolk, Walpole, Wayland, Framingham, Brookline, Westwood, Norwood, Randolph, or anywhere in Suffolk, Norfolk, or Middlesex County, contact Attorney Hinman for immediate assistance at 617-283-4480, or by using the form to the left.