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Conversion is an intentional tort which occurs when a party takes the chattel property of another with the intent to deprive them of it. Conversion is not applicable to real property

For the purposes of conversion, “intent” merely means the objective to possess the property or exert property rights over it. As a result, a party is liable for conversion regardless of their knowledge of property’s ownership status. For example, a person who picks up a necklace off the ground with the intent to resell it because they erroneously believed it was abandoned still converted that necklace. 

The standard remedy for conversion is return of the property in question or damages for the fair market value of the property. 

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]