An Attorney was accused in Lawrence District Court of taking fees from a client and not performing the work. A criminal complaint for two counts of larceny from a person age 65 or older was filed against him. A charge of larceny can be easy to file but difficult to prove. As is often the case, the devil is in the details. In this case the “victim” was over age 65 at the time the charges were filed but it was clear from the evidence that at the time of the alleged thefts the “victim” was well under age 65. Right at the outset that reduced the two counts from aggravated larceny to simple larceny. Then Attorney Lewin noticed that the date of offense in Count 1 was more than six years before the date on which the criminal complaint issued. This put Count 1 beyond the six year Massachusetts Statute of Limitations. Now we were down to one count of simple larceny. To prove larceny by false pretences the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that at the time of the taking of the money the accused had an intent to steal or defraud. This is an issue that is commonly raised in cases against contractors who take a deposit on a job and then for one reason or another don’t complete the job or don’t do any work at all on the job. Attorney Lewin and his staff researched the issue thoroughly and found a number of Massachusetts cases directly on point. The cases hold that mere non-performance of the job is not enought to prove an intent to steal or defraud at the time the the contractor is hired. An extensive Memorandum of Law was prepared for the judge and all the relevant cases were cited. When the Assistant District Attorney and Attorney Lewin argued the issue to the Judge, the Judge cited the very cases that Attorney Lewin had cited in his Memorandum. The District Attorney finally yielded and on August 9, 2010 all the charges against the lawyer were dismissed.