What is false pretenses? (NCGS § 14-100)
North Carolina prohibits “obtaining property by false pretenses” under criminal code § 14-100. The law as written is broad and casts a wide net.
Here’s an excerpt:
- “If any person […] by means of any kind of false pretense whatsoever, whether the false pretense is of a past or subsisting fact or of a future fulfillment or event, obtain or attempt to obtain from any person within this State any money, goods, property, services, […] with intent to cheat or defraud any person […] such person shall be guilty of a felony.”
Many forms of theft are prohibited under North Carolina’s false pretenses law.
One example is shoplifting an item from the store and then attempting to pawn it for cash. Another example is forging a HUD mortgage document, in which case the forger, under false pretenses, attempts to get a loan. Related cases may involve obtaining signatures on documents by false pretenses, obtaining advances by promises to work that go unfulfilled, and obtaining property in return for bad checks, among others.
Essentially, if you have been arrested and charged with false pretenses, the government believes that you have made a false statement in order to obtain cash, a loan, or other goods and services.
What is the punishment for false pretenses?
Just the intent to defraud is enough – it is not necessary for the government to prove that a person was successful in obtaining money, goods, property, or services. As with other criminal charges, the specific punishment (if convicted and sentenced) will vary from case to case.
A false pretense charge is a felony offense:
- Cases involving more than $100K are Class C felonies
- Cases involving less than $100K are Class H felonies
Class C felonies are higher in terms of severity of punishment; given the greater dollar amount involved, these offenses may impose months – perhaps even years, depending on the situation – of prison time. On the other hand, Class H felonies (false pretenses charges involving less than $100K) generally do not mandate prison time, and may allow for other results, like a reduction in charges and probation.
Whether it’s a Class C or a Class H felony, a criminal defense attorney can help work for the best possible result under the circumstances.
Contact Roberts Law Group in Raleigh, North Carolina
If you’ve been charged with false pretenses (or the related crimes of larceny and embezzlement), call the defense lawyers of Roberts Law Group. We represent clients throughout North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast, with offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, and Wilmington.
Feel free to scroll through our list of theft cases we’ve handled to see the results we’ve won for former clients in a variety of scenarios involving property crimes. For example, in a false pretenses case we handled involving mistaken identity, our client faced 48-64 months in jail, and we won dismissal of charges.
State v. B.S.: Not Guilty Verdict in First Degree Murder Case.
In this case, our client was charged with First Degree Murder in connection with a “drive by” shooting that occurred in Charlotte, NC. The State’s evidence included GPS ankle monitoring data linking our client was at the scene of the crime and evidence that our client confessed to an inmate while in jail. Nonetheless, we convinced a jury to unanimously find our client Not Guilty. He was released from jail the same day.
State v. S.G.: First Degree Murder Charge Dismissed.
Our client was charged with First Degree for the shooting death related to an alleged breaking and entering. The State’s evidence included a co-defendant alleging that our client was the shooter. After conducting a thorough investigation with the use of a private investigator, we persuaded the State to dismiss entirely the case against our client.
State v. B.D.: First Degree Murder Charged Dismissed.
After conducting an investigation and communicating with prosecutor about the facts and circumstances indicating that our client acted in self-defense, the case was dismissed and deemed a justifiable homicide.
State v. I.R.: Reduction from First Degree Murder to Involuntary Manslaughter and Concealment of Death.
Our client was charged with the First Degree Murder of a young lady by drug overdose. After investigating the decedent’s background and hiring a preeminent expert toxicologist to fight the State’s theory of death, we were able to negotiate this case down from Life in prison to 5 years in prison, with credit for time served.
State v. J.G.:
Our client was charged with First Degree Murder related to a “drug deal gone bad.” After engaging the services of a private investigator and noting issues with the State’s case, we were able to negotiate a plea for our client that avoided a Life sentence and required him to serve only 12 years.