NJ Theft by Deception Charges and Penalties

Hackensack & Morristown Attorneys serving Bergen, Morris, Essex County, and Surrounding NJ Communities

Theft by deception charges NJ

Theft by deception charges NJ

Theft by deception is a specific type of theft crime governed by N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. The part of this offense that distinguishes it from others is that a person acquires or obtains the money or property of another by creating or reinforcing a false impression. In other words, if you lead someone to believe something that isn’t true for financial gain, you may be charged with theft by deception in New Jersey. The penalties associated with a criminal conviction for theft by deception depend on the value of the stolen property involved in the specific case. Continue reading for an explanation of theft by deception offenses in New Jersey.

2C:20-4 Theft by Deception Statute

Theft by Deception charges are governed by section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 of the New Jersey Statutes, which states:

A person is guilty of theft if he purposely obtains property of another by deception. A person deceives if he purposely:

a.  Creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention or other state of mind, and including, but not limited to, a false impression that the person is soliciting or collecting funds for a charitable purpose; 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;

b.  Prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction; or

c.  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.

The term “deceive” does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing or exaggeration by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.

Theft by Deception Explained

In order to be found guilty of theft by deception, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you:

  1. Creates or reinforces a false impression about the law or the value of an item
  2. Hid crucial information about a transaction from another person; or
  3. Failed to correct a false impression that you previously created or know to be influencing another person

It does not matter if the person who was deceived should have known better. The law is meant to protect the most helpless individuals. That’s why an offender cannot trick an elderly person into sending them money and then claim that the elderly person did not act reasonably. All that matters is that the other person relied upon the offender’s words or actions. Additionally, keep in mind that you can be charged with Theft by Deception even if you did not explicitly communicate in the form of words or writing. That’s because failing to correct a false impression is also a violation of the law.

An important requirement of the law is that the deception must pertain to a matter of pecuniary or financial significance. Merely boasting or exaggeration is not a violation of the law; the deception must have a tangible effect on a transaction and result in an economic gain or loss.

There is also a requisite intent: the defendant must have intended to deceive the victim. It cannot be an accident or unintended consequence, that would not rise to the requisite criminal intent under the law.

Criminal Penalties for Theft by Deception in NJ

Theft by deception charges will be graded based on the amount of the alleged theft. A theft of $75,000 or more is a second degree offense punishable by 5-10 years in prison and the defendant is presumed to be sentenced to prison even if they have no prior criminal record. A theft of $500 – $75,000 is a third degree offense punishable by 3-5 years in prison and there is a presumption of non-incarceration for first time offenders. A theft of $200 – $500 is a fourth degree felony charge punishable by up to 18 months in prison. And finally a theft of less than $200, is a disorderly persons offense (misdemeanor) punishable by up to six (6) months in the county jail.

PTI in Theft by Deception Cases in New Jersey

If you have no prior criminal record and are facing a theft by deception charge, you may be eligible for the pre-trial intervention (PTI) program. This is a first time offender program which would allow you to avoid jail time and a felony charge on your record if you successfully complete the probationary period. Usually in theft cases, one of the conditions of PTI admission is that you pay the money back to the alleged victim.

If you or a loved one is facing a theft charge in New Jersey including shoplifting, theft of movable property, or theft by deception, the criminal defense lawyers at the Tormey Law Firm LLC can help. Our experienced criminal defense lawyers have literally handled thousands of theft cases over the years and, in fact, several members of our criminal defense team used to prosecute theft charges for the State of NJ. Now, let them put their experience, knowledge, and expertise to use fighting your theft charges in court. Mr. Tormey was recently recognized as one of the top 10 criminal defense lawyers in the State of NJ by the American Jurist Institute. Contact our offices now for a free initial consultation at 201-556-1570.

Here is a case where Mr. Tormey was successful in having the client’s theft charges dismissed in Essex County, NJ:

“Travis is very responsive and excellent at achieving the best outcome. He is extremely professional and I credit him for negotiating in a manner that greatly reduced my charges.” – Former Client

For more information, contact our theft by deception charge attorneys at 201-556-1570.

Testimonials

  • Great lawyer

  • Simple assault charge was dropped

  • Top Notch Representation

  • Well worth it.

  • DUI Case Dismissed

  • 2 felony charges dismissed

  • Cameron bury

  • great attorney

  • Hands Down Professional and delivers results!!!

  • DUI case dismissed

  • 125 stars out of 10!!

  • Excellent at getting best outcome

  • Excellent Attorney

  • TRO Dismissal

  • Efficient Excellent attorney.

  • Excellent attorney

  • Travis successfully defended me in an unprecedented Final Restraining Order Trial with ease

  • Kick Ass Attorney!

  • Efficient and professional attorney

  • Great Lawyer And Great Results

  • Top Notch DUI Attorney

  • Client Domestic Violence

  • Restraining Order

  • A real pro in a time of need - DWI Dismissed.

  • The most experienced, patient and affordable attorney

  • Travis Tormey successfully had a False TRO against me dismissed.

  • Underaged Drinking

  • Underaged Drinking

  • DUI Dismissed

  • Saved me from a DUI. HIGHLY recommended

  • Restraining Order

  • Case dismissed with Data Driven Facts

  • Respectful. Attentive. Professional.

  • Trespassing and Under the Influence Disorderly Persons charges

  • If you are reading this- You have reached the right place! Undoubtedly, the BEST Law Firm in New Jersey!

  • Amazing attorney with a heart of gold

  • Exceeded my expectations, Highly Professional Attorney

  • Responsive and knowledgeable.

  • The Tormey law firm was very kind and professional

  • Expungement

  • Travis Tormey is a True Professional Who Kept Me Out of Jail

  • Saved me a whole ton of problems

  • Travis Tormey Review

  • A nightmare case, with a happy ending.

  • Elite NJ Marijuana Attorney! 5 Stars!!

  • An Excellent lawyer!

  • Great lawyer for DUI

  • I highly endorse Travis Tormey.

  • Travis Tormey Law Firm

  • Travis is a Lifesaver

  • Travis J. Tormey - Evaluation

  • Great Lawyer. Got me off exactly what I wanted

  • Consummate Professional!

  • Great Criminal Defense Lawyer

  • Good Service

  • Exceptional Lawyer

  • Exceptional Lawyer

  • Hired to defend me for aggravated assault

  • Hired to defend me in a restraning order

  • Excellent attorney, highly recommend his talents

  • DWI Counsel

  • I highly recommend Mr. Tormey

  • Great attorney

  • Travis Tormey, Esq. - Great Results!

  • Travis Tormey - Excellent Attorney-Kind and Trustworthy

  • Excellent Attorney-Trustworthy and Kind

  • An Outstanding lawyer!!! That will represent you in the correct way!

  • Excellent Attorney! You will not be dissapointed....

  • Travis Tormey Gets Results!

  • tormey

  • Success!!

  • Travis Tormey Review

  • Only Lawyer I Recommend

  • Very Grateful

  • Attorney review of Travis Tormey

  • Excellent

Experience You Can Trust

With unmatched knowledge and experience in the practice of law, the seasoned attorneys at The Tormey Law Firm are committed to serving their clients and tenaciously confronting the allegations against them.

We will examine every facet of your case in order to defend your constitutional rights and reputation. With a dedicated legal advocate to assist you, our attorneys will ensure that you are never forced to navigate the complex legal process on your own.

Learn More About How to Fight Your Charges

If you've been charged with a criminal offense, disorderly persons offense, or traffic / DWI violation, you have the right to an attorney who will defend you against your charges and fight for your best interests. To learn more about how your attorney can fight to have your charges dismissed or reduced, click a link below to see our video library of legal defenses and strategies.

The Tormey Law Firm

Areas we serve

Bergen County, Essex County, Morris County, Passaic County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Somerset County including Morristown, Denville, Dover, Mount Olive, Parsippany, Hackensack, East Rutherford, Elmwood Park, Englewood, Fort Lee, Garfield, Lodi, Lyndhurst, Mahwah, Palisades Park, Paramus, Ridgefield Park, Saddle Brook, Teaneck, Clifton, and Wayne.

  • Hackensack Office

    254 State Street Hackensack, NJ 07601

    (201) 556-1570

    view larger map

  • Morristown Office

    55 Madison Avenue Suite 400, Morristown, NJ 07960

    (908) 336-5008

    view larger map

Daily Record Daily Record
CBS Radio CBS Radio
NJ dot com NJ dot com
The Record The Record
AOL News AOL News
Asbury Park Press Asbury Park Press