Participating in fraudulent activities attracts severe criminal charges, like obtaining money under pretenses. The offense is prohibited under Section 205.380 of the Nevada Revised Statutes and may result in a misdemeanor or felony charge, depending on the severity of your actions. Upon facing arrest and charges, you must consult your criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to help them determine the most suitable approach to apply during trial.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, you will work with skilled and experienced criminal defense attorneys with experience in handling fraud crimes. You can trust the team to undertake all necessary research and trial preparations to increase your chances of a favorable outcome. Our services are available if you or a loved one is facing a fraud crime charge of obtaining money by pretenses in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Understanding the Charge of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses
Fraud crimes involve different case facts and elements, and legal statutes also classify them under different provisions for ease of prosecution. Obtaining money by pretenses is among the fraud crimes prosecuted in the state, and the law prohibits it under Section 205.380 of the Nevada Revised Statutes.
The legal provision describes the various forms of the crime, making it possible to face charges even if your case circumstances vary from the conventional elements that prosecutors check for. Based on this, you need to work closely with your defense attorney to determine the prosecutor’s case strength and how you can counter their accusations.
Additionally, obtaining money by pretense can attract either misdemeanor or felony charges, and the prosecutor can use their discretion and formal guidelines to determine the most suitable charge. Misdemeanor penalties are more applicable if the total amount obtained is below $1200. On the other hand, felony charges are applicable for unlawfully obtaining amounts between $12,000 and $5,000, and the intensity of punishment increases with higher payments.
Elements of the Crime the Prosecutor Must Prove
After arrest and charging, the prosecutor prepares for your trial by assessing the essential elements to prove. They handle this role because criminal procedure places a legal burden on the prosecution office to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The primary reason for the prosecutor handling the burden of proof is because they represent the alleging party and the state.
While meeting the burden of proof obligation, the prosecutor must also ensure the evidence demonstrates your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Based on this, they must provide supporting evidence for all elements of the crime to justify their accusations and persuade the judge or jury of their guilt.
The following are the main elements of crime for obtaining money by pretenses:
You Intentionally Lied to Someone Using False Pretense
The primary crime element in your charge is deceiving a third by using pretenses, meaning that you misled them by providing incorrect information. You can expect the prosecution team to emphasize this crime element and provide details of your actions to lie to the victim.
Operating under pretenses may involve different actions or omissions, and the prosecutor must focus on points relevant to your case. For example, you may be liable for deceiving someone under false pretenses if you made a reckless statement without trying to verify or support your claims. You mislead the person into taking your statement as truth and exposing them to fraud.
Moreover, pretenses involve fabricating information and details to make you seem like you are in an extreme situation and need help. For example, in an unfortunate scenario, you may claim to have lost all your money and plead with the third party to send you some cash to help you get back on your feet.
Sometimes, a statement can qualify as false pretense if it involves making promises you knew you would not meet. However, the prosecutor must also provide sufficient evidence to show your malicious intentions not to follow up on the promise. If they fail to do so, your defense attorney can help you argue that you could have kept the promise if not for your arrest.
The prosecutor can also successfully present pretenses if they show that you intentionally omitted essential facts or information that you knew could affect the third party’s decision to give you money. Important details that you choose to forget include whether you are authorized to handle the money or whether your identity is verified.
Examples of evidential sources that the prosecution team may rely on include witness statements from the primary victim and any other person present when you presented yourself. Further, they may use audio or video footage that captured the false statements you made, as it would provide compelling evidence of your actions.
You Intended to Make the Victim Grant You Access to Money
On top of establishing that you used false pretenses to deceive a third party, the prosecutor should also demonstrate that you intended to persuade the victim into giving you money unlawfully. The prosecutor can prove this in various ways, and each case varies based on the circumstances.
Usually, demonstrating criminal intention requires the prosecutor to present your mental plans and assessment. It is a less straightforward process compared to showing your participation in a specific action, as it requires the prosecutor to convince the judge that you intended to break the law.
Based on this, the prosecutor is likely to rely on circumstantial evidence to show that you are liable for the offense. Examples of circumstantial evidence include actions you undertook in preparation for your fraudulent operations or communication exchanges between you and a third party helping you plan your illegal operations.
For example, if the prosecutor demonstrates that you waited to speak to a bank trainee with less experience than a regular teller, the information can be sufficient to show that you intended to obtain money from them. Their reasoning could be that you knew the younger trainee needed to be more experienced and more likely to accept your unlawful requests.
Similarly, text messages, emails, or other forms of correspondence that demonstrate your intention to obtain money are useful evidentiary sources in court. If the investigation team acquires documents like rough calculations of the estimated money you would receive, the prosecutor can also present them as evidence against you. Due to this, your defense attorney must be ready to prepare compelling defenses to help you avoid legal liability.
The Targeted Third Party Relied on Your False Pretenses
The presiding judge cannot issue a verdict against you until the prosecutor establishes that your false pretenses had a detrimental effect, meaning that the victim relied on misguidance to act. In this case, the prosecutor should show that the victim authorized your access to the money based on the false or misleading information you gave them.
In court, the prosecutor’s primary witness is the victim who granted you the money, and they will provide extensive details about the nature of the information you gave them. Further, they may narrate the manipulative strategies you used against them to gain sympathy, prompting them to accept your request.
Additional sources of proof include surveillance footage showing the third party giving you money or authorization to an account shortly after talking to you. If the footage is unavailable, additional witnesses who were present as you engaged the victim can provide an account of what occurred.
You can also expect the prosecutor to assess the specific words you used on the victim and compare them to their subsequent actions after they spoke to you. By assessing the persuasive phrases you used and asking the witness about the words' impact, the prosecutor can further prove their case.
You Were Successful in Obtaining Money Unlawfully
The final element of crime is that you obtained the money, meaning that you moved it from the victim’s possession to yours. Demonstrating the aspect of crime is essential, as it shows that you gained unlawfully and should, therefore, be penalized if the judge finds you guilty.
The prosecutor can show that money was in your possession by providing your bank statements as evidence. These documents are persuasive proof, mainly because they show the time money was credited into your account compared to the estimated time of committing the crime.
Additional evidential sources include stacks of cash obtained after a search and seizure, especially if they are large amounts that you cannot account for. Similarly, purchase receipts or property shipment orders can be evidence of having obtained money unlawfully, as the prosecutor can link the purchases to a sudden access to money that you did not previously have.
Defenses for Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses
After the prosecutor closes their case, your criminal attorney can raise defenses to counter the accusations you face. A defense hearing is critical in determining the case outcome, as it gives you the chance to challenge the prosecutor’s accusations and cast reasonable doubt on their case.
If successful, you can worry less about facing a guilty verdict and potentially losing your freedom. Based on this, you need to work closely with your defense attorney by providing detailed information regarding your case. In doing so, you help them strengthen the arguments they intend to present as a defense. Some applicable defenses to your case include:
You Did Not Use False Pretenses
Sometimes, investigation officers may obtain the wrong information and forward it to the prosecutor for trial. This then results in unfair accusations, like using false pretenses to defraud. If you can demonstrate that your statements or narrative towards the third party were legitimate, you will have cast reasonable doubt on the prosecutor’s case. As a result, you may be more likely to receive an acquittal.
The Third Party Did Not Rely on Your Statements
Alternatively, even if the prosecutor accuses you of using false pretenses, the third party did not rely on them. The goal is to demonstrate that you did not obtain money unlawfully or cause loss to the alleged victim, making it necessary to warrant a criminal penalty against you.
You Face False Accusations
False accusations are applicable in various ways, including mistaken identity cases and malicious reporting by a third party. If you strongly believe that you face false accusations unfairly, you can raise this during your defense hearing to call attention to the matter and ensure that the state prosecutes the right person. Further, providing information on the person you believe to be mistaken for can be beneficial; it redirects the prosecutor’s accusations away from you.
Penalties for Obtaining Money by False Pretenses
If the judge finds you guilty of the crime, you face penalties depending on the amount you acquired. Any amount below $1200 warrants a misdemeanor penalty, and you may face up to six months in county jail or a fine payment order of up to $1000.
Alternatively, you may face a Category D felony penalty for obtaining amounts of up to $5,000, resulting in up to four years in state prison or a fine payment of up to $5,000. If you obtained amounts between $5000 and $25000, you face a Category C felony and risk spending one to five years in state prison or a fine of up to $10,000.
A Category B felony applies if you obtained amounts between $25,000 and $100,000, resulting in a state prison sentence of up to ten years or a fine payment order of up to $10,000. Cases involving amounts above $100,000 can lead to a state prison sentence of up to twenty years and/or a fine payment of up to $15,000.
Contact a Las Vegas Criminal Defense Attorney Near Me
Obtaining money by pretenses is a type of fraudulent crime that involves presenting inaccurate and misleading details to obtain money illegally. If the prosecutor can show your involvement in all elements of crime, you could face penalties that limit your liberty. You can reduce the chances of a guilty verdict by partnering with a skilled defense lawyer who understands the most effective ways to defend a fraud crime.
At The Law Offices of Martin Hart, you work with skilled and experienced attorneys who are ready to take on your case and provide personalized support. Our experience has also developed over the years thanks to the multiple cases we have handled, making us your trusted legal partner. If you or a loved one is facing charges involving obtaining money by pretenses in Las Vegas, Nevada, call us today at 702-380-4278.