Interviewer: When people refer to theft by deception, what is that they usually refer to? Or, what do you think that refers to.
Brian Geno: In Virginia a person is considered to have stolen something or theft by deception, if they have committed embezzlement. They have used a position of trust to take something so, when they have created a false impression upon someone who has entrusted money or assets to them, they can be charged with that. There may be another one too that could be considered theft by deception. That would be a fraud type offense. There is such a thing as criminal fraud in Virginia.
Fraud is Generally Deceiving Someone Into Taking a Certain Course of Action That Would Benefit the Deceiver at the Expense of Another
Interviewer: What do you mean by fraud? What would be an example of someone doing something fraudulent?
Brian Geno: Fraud means that you tricked someone. You deceived them into thinking that they should take a certain course of action and as a result of them tricking them and then taking that action you benefit. This would be an example, you call up somebody and you tell them that you can arrange for them to win a grant or a scholarship or a prize if they will send in their hundred dollar registration fee so that the package can be sent out. The person believes that by sending in that money that they will get a benefit when, in fact, there is no prize, there is no scholarship, there is no benefit. They are just sending in the hundred dollars. The hundred dollars is the theft. That would be theft by deception. That is not the same as embezzlement like I mentioned a minute ago. That one is a crime in Virginia as well.
Extortion is Another Type of Theft Where Someone Is Being Forced to Relinquish their Property Out of Fear
Interviewer: Would theft by extortion mean something along the lines of blackmail or something like that?
Brian Geno: Extortion, is another type of theft where you’re forcing somebody to give up their money or their assets out of fear of being exposed. That is a crime in Virginia.
The Charge of Receiving Stolen Property Can Be Either a Misdemeanor or a Felony Depending upon the Value
Interviewer: Is there a specific kind of statute for receiving stolen property?? What kind of problems would someone be facing if they received stolen property?
Brian Geno: Receiving stolen property has the penalty of, depending on the size of the theft, will determine if it’s a misdemeanor or a felony. If you were to receive something, stolen property, that was under $200 it would be a misdemeanor just like petty larceny. On the other hand, if you receive more than that then it would be, the penalties would be the felony type charges. Starting with a Class 6 felony. A person could get a year in jail, $2500 fine at a minimum felony for receiving stolen property. It goes up from there depending on the size. Sometimes people can do quite a bit of prison time for stealing certain amounts. I’ve had clients before who stole in the millions and wound up doing years in jail. One in particular, he stole approximately seven million dollars and wound up, ultimately, serving a 6 year sentence. Another person who stole, he didn’t receive stolen property, what he did was he stole money from a mortgage company by tricking the mortgage company, and wound up doing several years in jail for that too. Receiving stolen property is often punished as if it were the actual grand larceny itself as it they had stolen it.