larceny by trick

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Larceny by trick is a form of larceny, where the offender permanently deprives the owner of their personal property by using deception, lies, or by making false statements.  

Larceny by trick is often confused with larceny by false pretenses. Larceny by trick occurs when the offender lies in order to receive possession of property, but never obtains the title for that property. In other words, the owner of the property must have consensually given possession of the property to the offender, but never transferred ownership to the offender. For example:

  • An owner of a car gives the offender permission to borrow the car, on the condition it gets returned on Monday. The offender accepts, but never had any intention of returning the car. 

In the above example, the owner never transferred the title of the car to the offender, making the offender’s actions larceny by trick. Had the owner of the car transferred the title to the offender, the offense would be larceny by false pretenses. 

Larceny by trick may be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the value of the property that was stolen. The statutory amount varies state by state but is generally between $250 and $2500. 

[Last updated in June of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]