Theft by Deception N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4

Voorhees NJ Theft by Deception Lawyers

Theft Defense Attorneys in Camden County, New Jersey

There are a variety of actions that constitute theft by deception under New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4. Essentially, a theft by deception offense means a person misleads, affirms a misleading impression, or fails to correct a known false impression in order to obtain money or property from another person. The act of theft typically involves taking something that doesn’t belong to you, so in a case involving theft by deception, the purpose is to obtain something of value from someone else by allowing them to believe something that you know to be false. For example, theft by deception charges can be brought against contractors who receive payment for work they never complete, people who file false insurance claims, or those who impersonate someone else to make purchases. The circumstances involved in a specific theft by deception case can vary significantly, and the penalties associated with a conviction are similarly variable. Like many other theft offenses, the estimated value of the alleged theft will determine the degree of theft by deception charges and the potential consequences. If you have been charged with theft by deception in New Jersey, it is critical to understand your charges, penalties, and the ways you may be able to have theft by deception dismissed.

William Fay is an accomplished criminal defense lawyer with years’ experience defending clients in NJ courts. His knowledge of legal nuances and skillful approach to defense has earned him recognition as a zealous advocate while negotiating with prosecutors and litigating criminal matters in court. Mr. Fay is never intimidated by a challenging case or prosecutor who refuses to compromise, whether the allegations involve check fraud, burglary, shoplifting, armed robbery, or another property related crime. He himself served as a Deputy Attorney General for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, which is why he will never back down when fighting for you. If you seek representation from our firm, we will thoroughly investigate your case to develop the most effective defense strategy. Our team represents clients throughout Camden County and New Jersey, including in Winslow, Gloucester, Pennsauken, Cherry Hill, and Camden City, with a passion for delivering superior results. If you or a loved one is arrested for theft by deception charges, contact our criminal defense law firm today at 609-832-3202 for a free consultation.

Theft by Deception in New Jersey: N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4

According to New Jersey Theft by Deception Law, found in section N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 of the Criminal Code, a person is guilty of theft if he purposely obtains property of another by deception. A person deceives if he purposely:

a. Creates or reinforces a false impression, including false impressions as to law, value, intention or other state of mind, and including, but not limited to, a false impression that the person is soliciting or collecting funds for a charitable purpose; but deception as to a person’s intention to perform a promise shall not be inferred from the fact alone that he did not subsequently perform the promise;

b. Prevents another from acquiring information which would affect his judgment of a transaction;  or

c. Fails to correct a false impression which the deceiver previously created or reinforced, or which the deceiver knows to be influencing another to whom he stands in a fiduciary or confidential relationship.

The term “deceive” does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing or exaggeration by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed.

Degrees of Theft by Deception Crimes in NJ

Theft by deception offenses are graded based on the value of the alleged theft. The specific thresholds for theft by deception are as follows:

  • Second Degree Theft by Deception: if the value of the theft exceeds $75,000; penalties include a prison term between 5 and 10 years and a fine of up to $150,000
  • Third Degree Theft by Deception: if the value of the theft is between $500 and $75,000; may result in 3 to 5 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000
  • Fourth Degree Theft by Deception: if the value of the theft is between $200 and $500; punishable by an NJ State Prison sentence up to 18 months in addition to fines up to $10,000
  • Disorderly Persons Theft by Deception: if the value of the theft is less than $200; punishable by a county jail sentence of up to 6 months and a $1,000 fine

On top of the fines and prison time for theft by deception, a person convicted may be required to pay restitution to the victim, perform community service, be placed on probation and more.

Are there ways to Avoid a Theft by Deception Conviction in New Jersey?

There are numerous methods to avoid being convicted of a theft by deception offense. For instance, there may be evidence to suggest that your intention was not to deceive the alleged victim in the case. Misunderstandings can and do occur, which may be demonstrated by exonerating information or insufficiencies in the state’s case. Also, obtaining the property through an actual purchase or financial transaction can disprove that theft by deception actually occurred. Another defense approach involves challenging the value of the property in question or seeking to have the charges downgraded for the purposes of obtaining a more lenient sentence or probation.

In addition, you may be eligible for diversionary program such as Pre-Trial Intervention if you have no criminal history. By obtaining admission into the PTI program, you have the opportunity to get your charges dismissed altogether. This program generally requires a set of conditions such as avoiding being arrested and charged with another offense during the probationary period which can range from 1 to 3 years. Upon completion, the case is dismissed and you become eligible to expunge the arrest and related charges six months later. This can be especially advantageous if you wish to avoid a criminal record.

Contact a Cherry Hill NJ Theft by Deception Attorney for a Free Consultation

If you have been accused of theft by deception, insurance fraud, identity theft, or a related offense, contact our criminal defense law firm anytime for a free consultation. Our skilled Camden County criminal defense attorneys are happy to answer all of your questions over the phone or to schedule an appointment at our office..


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"Mr. Fay is a fantastic lawyer. He helped me during a very stressful time in my life. He was knowledgeable about my case and what my options were. He answered all my questions and was very reassuring. He was there waiting for me at the entrance on my court date and made me feel at ease. He worked with the prosecutor to reduce my charges. I got the best outcome I could have hoped for. I highly recommend Mr. Fay if you need a lawyer."


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"I was arrested and summoned to court for possession of marijuana, even though I didn't have any on me. It was my first time getting in trouble and I was terrified and nervous. Mr. Fay came into court prepared and was extremely assuring. He made it very clear that he was going to fight for my case until the very end. He was extremely knowledgable about my case and the ways to resolve it. I would recommend Mr. Fay to anyone who has gotten into trouble."

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