Larceny involves an unlawful taking that does not involve breaking or entering the privacy of homes or other structures as in burglary. Larceny usually involves the unlawful taking of personal property such as money, jewelry, credit cards, firearms or other physical objects which can be moved and sold. Larceny is often also referred to as theft, petty theft or grand theft. The intent in larceny is to deprive the owner of the use or possession of the thing stolen.
How is larceny committed?
  1. Under 484 of the California Penal Code, a person who steals, takes, carries, leads or drives away the personal property of another or fraudulently appropriates property that has been entrusted using false or fraudulent representation or pretense commits larceny.
  1. Any person who falsely reports one’s wealth or mercantile character to obtain credit, money labor, real or personal property commits larceny.
  1. Any person who hires employees without informing them of every labor claim due and unpaid and every judgment that the employer has not been able to meet, commits larceny. The failure to inform employees is evidence of intent to defraud.
  1. Any person who leases or rents the personal property or another and fails to return the personal property rented or leased commits larceny. Or, a person who fails to return the rented or leased property after a demand made by the owner also commits larceny.
  1. Any person who uses a false or fictitious name or address to obtain lease or rental of the personal property of another and fails to return the property commits larceny. Or, a person who fails to return the rented or leased property after a demand made by the owner, also commits larceny.
  1. A person who knowingly gives false information or falsely verifies a person’s identity, ownership interest in property or authority to sell property to receive money or other valuable from a pawnbroker or secondhand dealer commits larceny.
  1. A person who receives money to obtain or pay for services, labor, materials, equipment but willfully fails to apply the money for the purpose by willfully failing to complete the improvements or willfully failing to pay for the services, labor, materials or equipment and wrongfully diverts the funds shall be guilty of a public offense and commits larceny.
  1. Using a false voucher to obtain construction loan funds but does not use the funds for the purpose for the submitted claim is guilty of a type of larceny called embezzlement.
Other forms of larceny
  1. Selling, transferring or conveying an access card without the cardholder’s or issuer’s consent and with intent to defraud, is guilty of grand larceny. An access card is any card, plate, code, account number of other means of accessing an account that may be used lone or in conjunction with another access card to obtain money, goods, services or anything of value that may be used to transfer funds.
  2. Uses an access card or access card account information that has been altered, obtained, or retained to obtain money, goods, services or anything else of value, with intent to defraud.
  3. Obtaining money, goods, services or anything of value by representing that he or she is the holder of an access card without the consent of the owner of the access card.
  4. Furnishing money, goods, services or anything of value to a person who has presented an access card that is counterfeit, forged, expired or revoked and receives payment for the goods, services or anything of value.
  5. Presenting for payment a sales slip or other evidence of an access card transaction and receives money without furnishing the money, goods, services or thing of value that is equal to amount of the sales slip.
  6. Stealing, taking or carrying away the cargo of another if the cargo exceeds $950 in value.
  7. Taking, stealing or carrying away copper wire, copper cable, copper tubing and copper piping.
What’s the difference between grand larceny and petty larceny?
Grand theft or grand larceny and petty theft or petty larceny are degrees of larceny. Grand theft is committed when the value of the money, labor or real or personal property exceeds $950. When the value of the thing taken does not exceed $950, it is petty larceny.
Are there exceptions when the value of the thing stolen is less than $950 but is still considered grand larceny?
Under 487 of the California Penal Code, when produce such as avocados, olives, citrus, fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes or other farm crops or domesticated fowl is taken, even if their value exceeds only $250, it is still considered grand larceny.
When fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, kelp, algae or other aquaculture products are taken from a commercial or research operation, even if the value exceeds only $250, the theft is considered grand larceny.
When a person who is a servant, agent, or employee takes money, labor, real or personal property from his employer or principal and the theft occurs over 12 consecutive months and the aggregate sum of the money, labor or real or personal property amounts to $950, then it is grand larceny.
Defrauding a housing program of a public housing authority of more than $400 is grand larceny.
Theft of animals
Under 487a, a person who takes, carries, leads, or drives away a horse, mare, gelding or any bovine or caprine animal, mule, jack, jenny, sheep, lamb, hog, sow, boar, gilt, barrow, or pig belonging to another is guilty of grand theft.
If the person has been entrusted with animals fraudulently appropriates the animals or knowingly defrauds another of his animals through any false or fraudulent representation or pretense is also guilty of grand theft.
Taking, transporting or carrying the carcass of any bovine, caprine, equine, ovine or suine animal or of any mule, jack or henny which is the personal property of another or fraudulently appropriates the carcass is guilty of grand theft.
Any person who takes, steals, transports or carries any portion of the carcass of any bovine, caprine, equine, ovine or suine animal that has been killed without the consent of the owner is guilty of grand theft.
Taking, stealing or carrying away the dog of another when the dog has a value not exceeding $950 is guilty of petty theft. Dogs are personal property and their value is ascertained in the same manner as the value of other property.
Anyone who steals, takes or carries away an animal for sale, slaughter, or medical research, defrauds another is guilty of a public offense.
Theft involving real estate
Converting real estate with a value of $250 into personal property by severing the property from the realty of another by taking, stealing or carrying away the property is guilty of grand theft.
Taking, stealing, carrying away any mining claim, tunnel, sluice, undercurrent, riffle box or sulfurate machine, gold dust, amalgam or quicksilver is guilty of grand theft.
How is grand theft penalized?
If the grand theft involved the theft of a firearm, the penalty is imprisonment in state prison for 16 months or two or three years.
If the grand theft involved the theft of horses, or other equine animals, the penalty is imprisonment not to exceed one year or a fine not exceeding $5000 or both fine and imprisonment.
How is petty theft penalized?
Petty theft is punished by a fine not exceeding $1000 or by imprisonment in county jail not exceeding 6 months or both fine and imprisonment.
If the thing stolen has a value that does not exceed $50, the theft may be charged as a misdemeanor or an infraction.
What happens when a minor or child commits library theft?
When a minor commits willful conduct that constitutes petty theft and takes merchandise or books from a merchant or library, the merchant or library facility may bring a civil action against the parent or legal guardian of the minor. The parent or guardian who has control and custody of the minor shall pay damages not less than $50 but not more than $500.
Are you facing charges of theft? Do you need legal advice or legal representation? Call any of the theft and larceny lawyers at Ramiro J. Lluis Law Office, they are always willing to help.
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