Theft by Deception / Extortion
The common perception of theft crimes is that the acts are committed by alleged offenders who steal the money or property of other people they do not know without being seen. However, there are certain theft offenses that are committed by people who the alleged victims may know quite well.
In the case of theft by deception, the alleged victim not only knows the alleged offender but presumably trusted him or her as well. An alleged victim of theft by extortion not only knows his or her alleged offender, but is aware that such person is taking property or services from him or her.
Salt Lake City Theft by Deception Lawyer
If you are being investigated for or have already been charged with theft by extortion or deception, you can give yourself the best chance of achieving the most favorable outcome to your case by having experienced legal representation. Darren Levitt thoroughly investigates the cases he handles as part of developing a formidable defense.
Levitt Legal, PLLC represents clients accused of these types of theft crimes in communities all over Salt Lake County, such as Cottonwood Heights, Draper, Midvale, Murray, Riverton, South Jordan, Taylorsville, West Jordan, and West Valley City. Call (801) 455-1743 right now to have our Utah theft by extortion attorney review your case during a free, confidential consultation.
Utah Theft by Extortion / Deception Overview
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Theft by Deception Charges in Salt Lake County
In Utah theft by deception is essentially a form of fraud in which the alleged offender uses lies or other deceitful practices to steal property or services from another person. Theft by extortion is a crime in which the alleged offender uses some kind of threat to steal property or services from another person.
Under Utah Code § 76-6-405, theft by deception occurs when a person obtains or exercises control over property of another person by deception and with a purpose to deprive the other person of property. The deception and the deprivation can occur at separate times. This statute notes that there are two examples of situations that this crime does not apply to:
- False claims relating to matters of no pecuniary (financial) significance
- “Puffing” or exaggerated statements to an individual, group, or the public unlikely to deceive an ordinary person in the group addressed
Utah Code § 76-6-406 defines theft by extortion as being when a person obtains or exercises control over the property of another person by extortion with the purpose of depriving that person of the property. Extortion occurs when an alleged offender threatens to either:
- Cause physical harm in the future to the person threatened or to any other person or to property at any time
- Subject the person threatened or any other person to physical confinement or restraint
- Engage in other conduct constituting a crime
- Accuse any person of a crime or expose him to hatred, contempt, or ridicule
- Reveal any information sought to be concealed by the person threatened
- Testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another person's legal claim or defense
- Take action as an official against anyone or anything, or withhold official action, or cause such action or withholding
- Bring about or continue a strike, boycott, or other similar collective action to obtain property which is not demanded or received for the benefit of the group which the alleged offender purports to represent
- Do any other act which would not in itself substantially benefit him or her but which would harm substantially any other person with respect to that person's health, safety, business, calling, career, financial condition, reputation, or personal relationships
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Utah Theft by Extortion Penalties
Theft by deception and theft by extortion are both classified according to Utah Code § 76-6-412. For alleged offenders with no previous convictions, the classification will largely depend on the value of the property or services involved:
- Class B Misdemeanor — Value of the property or services is less than $500.
- Class A Misdemeanor — Value of the property or services is or exceeds $500 but is less than $1,500
- Third-Degree Felony — Value of the property or services is or exceeds $1,500 but is less than $5,000
- Second-Degree Felony — Value of the property or services is or exceeds $5,000
Keep in mind that classifications may be enhanced if the alleged offender has been convicted of any theft, robbery, burglary with intent to commit theft, any fraud offenses listed under Utah Code § 76-6-5, or any attempt to commit any of these offenses.
Additionally, the crime is classified as a third-degree felony if the property allegedly taken is livestock such as a stallion, mare, colt, gelding, cow, heifer, steer, ox, bull, calf, sheep, goat, mule, jack, jenny, swine, poultry, or a fur-bearing animal raised for commercial purposes, regardless of value. If the property stolen is a firearm or an operable motor vehicle, it was stolen from the person of another, or the alleged offender was armed with a dangerous weapon at the time of the theft, then the crime is classified as a second-degree felony.
The maximum statutory penalties a person faces if convicted depends on the classification of the alleged offense:
- Class B Misdemeanor — Up to six months in jail and fine of up to $1,000
- Class A Misdemeanor — Up to one year in jail and fine of up to $2,500
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to five years in prison and fine of up to $5,000
- Second-Degree Felony —Up to 15 years in prison and fine of up to $10,000
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Theft by Deception Defenses in Salt Lake County
Utah Code § 76-6-402 establishes certain presumptions and defenses for theft cases. While possession of property recently stolen is deemed prima facie evidence that the person in possession stole the property when no satisfactory explanation of such possession is made, an alleged offender can use the following defenses:
- He or she acted under an honest claim of right to the property or service involved
- He or she acted in the honest belief that he or she had the right to obtain or exercise control over the property or service as he or she did
- He or she obtained or exercised control over the property or service honestly believing that the owner, if present, would have consented
Every case has unique circumstances, and an attorney may discover other particular defenses that apply only in your case.
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Find a Theft by Extortion Lawyer in Salt Lake City
Have you been arrested for theft by deception or extortion in Utah? Do not delay in seeking the advice and assistance of legal counsel.
Levitt Legal, PLLC provides aggressive defense for clients in Box Elder County, Cache County, Davis County, Morgan County, Salt Lake County, Summit County, Tooele County, Utah County, Wasatch County, and Weber County. You can have Utah theft by deception attorney Darren Levitt review your own case during a free consultation as soon as you call (801) 455-1743.