What is Theft by Deception and How Serious is it?

A business owner has decided to hire an accountant to conduct a preemptive audit in January. He had a good year financially and wants to be prepared should the IRS audit his company. His accountant schedules a meeting with him and tells him that he uncovered what appears to be fraudulent activity. The accountant requests permission to investigate further and discovers that fraudulent activity had been happening between 2009 and 2018.

Three employees, who were managing directors, had intentionally overbilled clients by including additional work hours into company invoices. One invoice stated that an employee worked 34 hours in one day on behalf of a client. The employees overbilled clients to secure employee bonuses that he would not have earned without engaging in fraudulent activity. Over 100 entities were taken advantage of by the employees who allegedly stole over $2.1 million since 2008. The employees are now facing charges for the following crimes:

  • Theft by Receiving Stolen Property
  • Theft by Deception
  • Deceptive Business Practices
  • Corrupt Organizations and Conspiracy

Theft by Deception

Theft by deception is a criminal charge that occurs when one person takes another person’s property without the owner’s consent and under false pretenses. Theft by deception occurs when a defendant pretends to have the authority to take the defendant’s property or misleads the victim into thinking that they have the authority to take the property. Theft by deception can also occur when someone causes another person to enter into a contract fraudulently.

Prosecutors must prove the following elements to convict a defendant of theft by deception in Illinois:

  • The defendant induced a victim to part with his or her property or money
  • The transfer of money or property by the victim to the criminal defendant was based upon deception on the defendant’s part
  • The defendant intended to permanently deprive the victim of his or her money or property
  • The defendant acted with the specific intent to defraud the victim of his or her money or property

Prosecutors must prove all of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convey to the defendant of theft by deception. The penalties for theft by deception are serious, and the more the defendant stole, the harsher the penalties. For example, the fines for theft by deception conviction range from $5,000 to up to $100,000 depending on the stolen property’s value. When the victim was over 60 years old, or when the defendant acted like he or she was a landlord to steal money or property, the penalties are harsher.

Contact a Schaumburg Theft by Deception Lawyer Today

When you need a lawyer, experience matters. If you have been charged with theft by deception in Illinois, the law firm of Glasgow & Olsson is here to help. We will use our decades of experience defending clients to protect your rights. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.

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