Obtaining Property by False Pretenses

Posted by Sean Cecil | May 09, 2017 | 2 Comments

IN North Carolina, Obtaining Property by False Pretenses is a felony. If the property obtained has a dollar value of less than $100,000.00, the crime is a relatively low Class 'H' felony. To obtain a conviction for "OPFP" the government must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a defendant is guilty of all the following elements:

1. made a representation about a past or existing fact or a future event

2. that was false and

3. was calculated and intended to deceive, AND

4. the representation did actually deceive another person (this includes associations, governments, corporations, etc) AND

5. the defendant thereby obtained, or attempted to obtain, money, goods, property, services...or any other thing of value from that person. 

Most of these cases are low-level felonies. Examples I have seen often involve merchants- attempting to use a real receipt to fraudulently return an item retrieve from a store shelf, attempting to pick up an online purchase twice, attempting to reuse a Coinstar receipt, etc. I've also sale of an item that was not legally owned and creation and attempted use of checks drawn on fraudulent accounts charged as OPFP. 

 Because these are low-level felonies, a defendant with no prior criminal history might hope to be accepted into a diversion program, or allowed a plea bargain guilty plea to a misdemeanor, an outcome with less drastic life-changing consequences. However, as with all felonies, defendants with prior felony convictions and Class 1 misdemeanors should expect more serious consequences, including the possibility of an active prison sentence. In those cases, a favorable plea bargain may be difficult to obtain absent serious deficiencies with the prosecution's case or some outstanding mitigation. 

About the Author

Sean Cecil

Sean is an experienced advocate dedicated to justice for all people. He believes that individual human rights outweigh the freedom to make an easy dollar.


Susan Reply

Posted Oct 23, 2017 at 13:19:06

What is normal NC bond for obtaining property by false pretenses

Sean Cecil Reply

Posted Oct 23, 2017 at 13:38:53

The bond amount would likely vary based upon factors such as the charging jurisdiction, defendant’s criminal history, and defendant’s history of failing to appear in court. Someone with no criminal history could reasonably expect to be released on their written promise to return to court. On the other hand, someone with an extensive criminal record and a history of blowing off court dates should probably expect a money bond. Different jurisdictions may treat the subject differently; in Wake County, for instance, if a judicial official determines that a cash bond is appropriate, the court’s guidelines published in 2013 suggest a bond between $4,000 and $15,000. In addition to criminal history and history of appearing in court, judicial officials also consider a defendant’s ties to the community, the existence of family members or loved ones willing to assume custody, and the nature of the charges, among other factors.

Criminal bonds in North Carolina are ripe for reform. There has been a nationwide push to reduce or eliminate money bonds because of their disproportionate punishment of individuals without the means to get out of jail while their case is pending. It often can be helpful to get a local criminal defense attorney to appear in court at the first appearance- often time significant funds can be saved through an effective presentation at the first court date!

Leave a Comment

Experienced and Successful

Edelstein & Payne has been dedicated to individual and workers' rights for over 30 years. Our attorneys have consistently been named on best lawyer and superlawyer lists, and have received numerous awards and recognitions for community contributions.

Dedicated to North Carolina Communities

With nearly 80 years of combined experience serving the working people of North Carolina, the lawyers at Edelstein & Payne have proven their dedication to justice for all people.