Thursday, December 8, 2011
MBE Fast Fact: Larceny by Trick vs. False Pretenses
The distinction between larceny by trick and false pretenses is a subtle one. Both crimes require the taking of personal property from another by an intentional false statement of past or existing fact, with the intent to defraud the other. The distinction is based entirely on exactly what is received due to the fraud. False pretenses requires that title to the property is obtained, while larceny by trick requires that mere possession of the property is obtained. These subtle distinctions are exactly the type so often tested on the MBE, and generally the fact that provides the key information will be hidden somewhere within a rather long fact pattern. As an aside, the crime of larceny can be distinguished from the crime of larceny by trick in that larceny does not require a misrepresentation and usually occurs when one takes the property from another. In larceny by trick, however, the property is given to another as a result of the other's misrepresentation.