Ohio’s Theft by Deception Laws Explained
Better known as conning, theft by deception is a crime in which one purposely and knowingly defrauds another of their property. Ohio law defines deception as the act of withholding information, preventing acquisition of information, consciously misleading someone, or any other act or omission that leads one to believe a false impression. When someone uses deception, any consent that was given to take the property in question becomes invalid. As such, the deceiver can be charged with and convicted of theft.
Common Examples of Scams
Cons exist in many forms. Common example of theft by deception schemes include:
- Posing as the IRS and claiming that the victim owes back taxes and, if not paid immediately, the victim will go to prison
- Posing as a charity to steal donations
- Selling fraudulent merchandise while giving the impression that it is real
Penalties for Theft by Deception
All theft crimes in Ohio are punished based on the value of the property stolen and whether the victim is a member of a protected class. Depending on their fraudulent profit, scammers face:
- Less than $1,000: first-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000
- $1,000 to $5,000: fifth-degree felony punishable by 6 to 12 months in prison and /or a fine of up to $2,500
- $7,500 to $150,000: fourth-degree felony punishable by 6 to 18 months in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000
- $150,000 to $750,000: third-degree felony punishable by 9 months to 3 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
- $750,000 to $1,500,000: second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 8 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000
- $1,500,000 or more: first-degree felony punishable by 3 to 11 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $20,000
Additionally, the offense is considered a fifth-degree felony if it is valued at less than $1,000 but committed against a senior citizen, an active service member or their spouse, or someone who is disabled. It could also be a fifth-degree felony if the stolen property was a negotiable instrument such as a credit card.
Theft charges carry severe penalties. If you or a loved one have recently been accused of conning, contact Bridges, Jillisky, Streng, Weller & Gullifer, LLC today. Our attorneys will fight tirelessly to protect your future.