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  1. #1
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    Default Theft By Deception

    Does anyone know if Theft By Deception in Pennsylvania is a misdemeanor or a felony? Also, what are the sentencing guidelines?

  2. #2
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    Default Pennsylvania Criminal Law

    Theft by Deception is defined as follows:
    Quote Quoting Pennsylvania Statutes Chapter 39 § 3922. Theft by deception.
    (a) Offense defined.--A person is guilty of theft if he intentionally obtains or withholds property of another by deception. A person deceives if he intentionally:

    1. creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention or other state of mind; 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;

    2. prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction; or

    3. 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.

    (b) Exception.--The term "deceive" does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.
    Penalties are outlined in a separate statute, and depend upon the facts of the offense:
    Quote Quoting Pennsylvania Statutes Chapter 39 § 3903. Grading of theft offenses.
    (a) Felony of the second degree.--Theft constitutes a felony of the second degree if:

    1. The offense is committed during a manmade disaster, a natural disaster or a war-caused disaster and constitutes a violation of section 3921 (relating to theft by unlawful taking or disposition), 3925 (relating to receiving stolen property), 3928 (relating to unauthorized use of automobiles and other vehicles) or 3929 (relating to retail theft).

    2. The property stolen is a firearm.

    3. In the case of theft by receiving stolen property, the property received, retained or disposed of is a firearm and the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.

    (a.1) Felony of the third degree.--Except as provided in subsection (a), theft constitutes a felony of the third degree if the amount involved exceeds $2,000, or if the property stolen is an automobile, airplane, motorcycle, motorboat or other motor-propelled vehicle, or in the case of theft by receiving stolen property, if the receiver is in the business of buying or selling stolen property.

    (b) Other grades.--Theft not within subsection (a) or (a.1) of this section, constitutes a misdemeanor of the first degree, except that if the property was not taken from the person or by threat, or in breach of fiduciary obligation, and:

    1. the amount involved was $50 or more but less than $200 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the second degree; or
    2. the amount involved was less than $50 the offense constitutes a misdemeanor of the third degree.

    (c) Valuation.--The amount involved in a theft shall be ascertained as follows:

    1. Except as otherwise specified in this section, value means the market value of the property at the time and place of the crime, or if such cannot be satisfactorily ascertained, the cost of replacement of the property within a reasonable time after the crime.

    2. Whether or not they have been issued or delivered, certain written instruments, not including those having a readily ascertainable market value such as some public and corporate bonds and securities, shall be evaluated as follows:

    i. The value of an instrument constituting an evidence of debt, such as a check, draft or promissory note, shall be deemed the amount due or collectible thereon or thereby, such figure ordinarily being the face amount of the indebtedness less any portion thereof which has been satisfied.

    ii. The value of any other instrument which creates, releases, discharges or otherwise affects any valuable legal right, privilege or obligation shall be deemed the greatest amount of economic loss which the owner of the instrument might reasonably suffer by virtue of the loss of the instrument.

    3. When the value of property cannot be satisfactorily ascertained pursuant to the standards set forth in paragraphs (1) and (2) of this subsection its value shall be deemed to be an amount less than $50. Amounts involved in thefts committed pursuant to one scheme or course of conduct, whether from the same person or several persons, may be aggregated in determining the grade of the offense.

    (d) Definitions.--As used in this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings given to them in this subsection:

    "Manmade disaster." - Any industrial, nuclear or transportation accident, explosion, conflagration, power failure, natural resource shortage or other condition, except enemy action, resulting from manmade causes, such as oil spills and other injurious environmental contamination, which threatens or causes substantial damage to property, human suffering, hardship or loss of life.

    "Natural disaster." - Any hurricane, tornado, storm, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, earthquake, landslide, mudslide, snowstorm, drought, fire, explosion or other catastrophe which results in substantial damage to property, hardship, suffering or possible loss of life.

    "War-caused disaster." - Any condition following an attack upon the United States resulting in substantial damage to property or injury to persons in the United States caused by use of bombs, missiles, shellfire, nuclear, radiological, chemical or biological means, or other weapons or overt paramilitary actions, or other conditions such as sabotage.
    You can download the Pennsylvania sentencing guidelines in PDF format from the Pennsylvania Commission on Sentencing.

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