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What is the crime of theft by deception?

There are different types of theft crimes Georgia residents can face. One of them is theft by deception. The state has its own set of laws pertaining to this offense.

Theft by deception defined

In Georgia, theft by deception can occur when a person obtains property that belongs to someone else through some kind of deceitful means. The perpetrator’s state of mind is to keep that property with the intention of permanently depriving the rightful owner of it.

Ways that theft by deception can be committed

Theft by deception can be carried out in various ways. However, regardless of the mechanism used in the crime, the victim is always fooled or deceived out of their property. A person committing the crime can intentionally do the following:

  • Create or confirm the impression of a false material fact or past event
  • Avoid correcting a false impression or past event that another person created or confirmed
  • Stop another person from gaining important information about property
  • Promise to perform services the person never intends to perform

Any of these means may be used in a theft by deception crime. As an example, a person rings someone’s doorbell and promises they will make home improvements to their home. The homeowner pays them money upfront for those services, but the individual never returns to make those repairs.

Penalties for theft by deception

Theft by deception can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the amount stolen. For less than $1,500, it’s a misdemeanor, which carries one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

When an amount greater than $1,500 is involved, the crime is considered a felony. Penalties include one to five years in prison, one to 10 years in prison or two to 20 years in prison depending on the value stolen.