Larceny by Stealing

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 §30 codifies the crime of larceny in Massachusetts. The law makes it a crime to steal (or to obtain by a false pretense, or to convert property with the intent to steal such property) someone else's property. Larceny of property with a value that exceeds $250 or larceny of a firearm is a felony in Massachusetts. It is punishable by up to 5 years in prison. Larceny of items with a value less than $250 is a misdemeanor and punishable by up to 1 year in jail. According to the law, the term "property" means money, bonds, promissory notes, chattels, stored data, animals and more. The term "steal" is defined as the wrongful taking of the personal property of another person, with the intent to deprive that person of such property permanently.

What are the Elements of Larceny in Massachusetts?

The prosecution must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt to convict you of larceny by stealing.

  1. That you took and carried away property;
  2. That the property was owned or possessed by someone other than you;
  3. That you intended to deprive the person of the property permanently.

Taking and carrying away property can be accomplished when you physically transfer property from another person's control to your own. This occurs even if the movement of the property is slight or if it lasts for a short time. Any separation from the victim's control, no matter how slight suffices to establish "taking and carrying away". A literal carrying away of the property is not required.

Property includes money, moveable items of personal property, things that are attached to real estate. "Property of another" means that the item was owned or possessed by someone other than the defendant. The owner of property is anyone who has actual or constructive possession of the item.

The intent to permanently deprive someone of his or her property may be proven by direct or circumstantial evidence. An intent to make restitution later is not a defense to larceny by stealing.

What Should My Lawyer do to Defend a Larceny Charge?

Larceny is one of the most common theft crimes charged in Massachusetts. Essentially, when someone is accused of stealing from another person he will likely be charged with larceny. Larceny cases are usually resolved without the need to go to trial. In Massachusetts a good criminal defense lawyer will be able to effectively resolve a larceny case through negotiations with the district attorney prosecuting the case or with the judge presiding over the case. Many times these cases are resolved so that you do not have a criminal record. Other times however going to trial might be the best option to pursue. People who complain that their property was stolen frequently have no proof that in fact the property was ever their’s. Many people try to manipulate the legal system to collect a debt or in retaliation for something that happened to them that is not criminal in nature. They initiate criminal actions as a means of extortion. We have successfully exploited these illicit motive at trial and won cases for our clients. Hiring the right criminal lawyer is the most important decision you will make. Call our office now to discuss your case.

Case Results » Larceny By Stealing
  • Milford District Court: Felony Charges of Larceny Over $250 Against Non-Citizen Defendants Dismissed

    The defendant is a non-citizen who has been accused of scamming elderly persons throughout the country. Our office represents this person and several of his family members on this case and other similar cases throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The scam is initiated by someone calling an elderly person claiming to be a lawyer for a grandchild. The scheme is well planned. The perpetrators know the identity of the grandchildren, their address and age. The victims are told that the grandchild is in great trouble and in need of money for bail or legal fees. Money then gets wired in the form of gift cards to a specific electronic address. There, it is accessed or retrieved by the perpetrators. Subsequently, the defendants are identified when they are videotaped using the gift cards. The charges in this case were larceny over $250, G.L. c. 266 Section 30 and receiving stolen property, G.L. c. 266 Section 60. Today, our office succeeded in getting this case dismissed.

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  • Worcester District Court: Felony Charges of Credit Fraud and Larceny Over $250 Dismissed

    The defendant is a non-citizen. Any form of conviction or a continuance without a finding (CWOF) would result in deportation. The prosecution alleged that the defendant and others were involved in a scam wherein, posing as criminal defense lawyers they would call elderly persons, advise them that their grandchild had been arrested and request money for bail and legal fees. The scam spanned six states, involved numerous conspirators and thousands of dollars in total. The defendant was identified as a recipient of illicitly obtained money in excess of $250 making this a felony. He was charged with credit card fraud, G.L. c. 266 Section 37C and larceny over G.L. c. 266 Section 30A. Today our office succeeded in getting the case dismissed.

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  • Newton District Court: Charges of Felony Larceny Over $250 Do Not Issue After Clerk Magistrate Hearing

    The defendant supervised the victim at a local fitness facility. Unbeknownst to the victim the defendant had taken information from the victim's employment application and obtained several high limit credit cards. The cards were used systematically and charges far exceeded $250 making the crime a felony. The Newton Police Detective generously applied for a criminal complaint for larceny over $250, G.L. c. 266 Section 30 rather than directly felony charges. Attorney Neyman was retained to represent the defendant. After a clerk magistrate hearing, no charges issued against the defendant.

    Read More in Theft Crimes

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