Articles Posted in Larceny/Stealing

In 2009, DW, a 58 year old car parts salesman, gave a fellow a check for $1,500 that was worthless. The fellow went to the police and the police took out a criminal complaint against DB for Larceny Over $250, Forgery, and Uttering (all felonies). DB left Massachusetts and moved to Virginia and never received the summons to appear in Framingham District Court. A warrant issued for his arrest. Two years later (in 2011) DW learned of the outstanding warrant and contacted Attorney Robert Lewin. Attorney Lewin spoke to the victim and confirmed that DB made good on the bad check plus interest. Attorney Lewin then contacted the police and the District Attorney’s Office and got the DA’s Office to agree to dismiss all the charges against DB prior to arraignment and without DB having to appear in Court. On April 5, 2011 Attorney Lewin appeared in Framingham District Court on DB’s behalf and the Judge went along and dismissed all the charges prior to arraignment without DB appearing personally. By dismissing the charges prior to arraignment the charges do not go on DB’s criminal record. It is as is it never happened.

RC worked for an employer. RC stole his employer’s checkbook and removed 15 blank checks from the checkbook. Over a period of several weeks RC wrote out the 15 checks to himself, forged his employer’s signature, and cashed the checks at a local bank. RC received about $11,500 from this scheme. Shortly after the employer discovered the missing checks the police were called in. It took about 10 minutes for the investigation to focus on RC. RC was called into the police station without a lawyer where he made a complete confession after being Mirandized. RC was charged with 45 felony counts: 15 counts of forgery, 15 counts of larceny, and 15 counts of uttering. (Uttering is the act of knowingly tendering a forged check; this happened each time RC took one of the forged checks and cashed it at the bank.) RC’s employer was angry and wanted RC to go to jail. Attorney Lewin got RC into counselling and stressed to RC the importance of putting money aside each week so that when RC went back to court he would have a sum of money to be applied toward the restitution. On August 26, 2010 RC and Attorney Lewin appeared in Lowell District Court. The District Attorney asked that RC be given an 18 month split sentence: 6 months to be served and 12 months suspended for 3 years with probation and restitution. Attorney Lewin presented the Judge with a report from the counsellor and $500 in cash that RC had accumulated as a downpayment on the restitution. Attorney Lewin pointed out that sending RC to jail – even if only for a very short period – would cost RC his new job and would greatly hamper his ability to pay the retitution. Attorney Lewin requested a term of probation. The Judge followed the recommendation of Attorney Lewin and placed RC on Probation for three years (with an 18 month suspended sentence) and the Judge ordered restitution to be paid at the rate of $100 per week. RC believes he will be able to get the retitution paid off in 2 years; if that happens then a Motion to Terminate Probation early will be filed and presented to the court. Wins come in all shapes and sizes. RC did not want to go to jail and he wanted sufficient time to pay the restitution. RC got the result he wanted. As RC and Attorney Lewin were leaving the Courthouse RC turned to Attorney Lewin and said put this case in the win column!

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.

One rainy day Patrick M, age 18, was walking to a friend’s house when it began pouring. Patrick saw a bicycle leaning up against a house in Wakefield. Patrick figured if he “borrowed” the bike he could get to his friend’s house more quickly and not get quite so wet. In a moment of poor decision making, Patrick entered the yard, grabbed the bicycle, and rode away to his friend’s house. Patrick left the bike at the friend’s house in the back yard. Unfortunately for Patrick, a witness had seen Patrick take the bicycle and had followed Patrick. The witness went to the police. The police retrieved the bike and confronted Patrick. In a moment of contrition Patrick admitted taking the bike and apologized profusely. He told the police it was his intention to return the bike the next morning and that he never intended to steal it. Patrick wrote a heartfelt letter of apology to the owner of the bike. The police charged Patrick with larceny over $250, a felony. Patrick retained Attorney Lewin prior to his arraignment. On the morning of the arraignment Attorney Lewin asked that the arraignment not be held but that the case be continued for a period of time to allow Attorney Lewin to try to convince the DA’s office to dismiss the case prior to the arraignment. The case was continued two more times and on June 23, 2010 the DA’s office agreed to dismiss the case “prior to arraignment”. The significance of the case being dismissed “prior to the arraignment” is that the case does not go on Patrick’s record. A charge of Larceny over $250 brands someone as a thief and no one wants to hire a thief. As a result of good lawyering at the outset of the case Patrick came out of this with no criminal record.

MD, a 52 year old man from Winchester, was accused of stealing his daughter’s roommate’s lap top computer. He was charged in Malden District Court with larceny over $250 (a felony). A conviction would have cost him his job. The police accused him of stealing the lap top from the victim’s apartment and then giving it to his daughter’s mother to sell. He absolutely denied any intent to steal and claimed that he had taken the computer in the mistaken belief that it belonged to his daughter. His daughter was moving out of the apartment and had enlisted the help of her father in moving her stuff out. He honestly believed that the lap top belonged to his daughter. In Massachusetts larceny requires proof of an intent to steal. The law in Massachusetts is that if you take another person’s property in an honest and reasonable belief that another person on whose behalf you are acting had a legal right to the property – even if that belief was in fact mistaken – then you are entitled to be found not guilty because you lacked an intent to steal. MD’s case was scheduled for jury trial on April 13, 2010. MD and Attorney Lewin appeared at Court ready for trial and the DA’s Office dismissed the case.

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