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Larceny of Leased or Rented Property
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 87 makes it a crime to steal leased or rented property. The law states that anyone who leases or rents personal property with the intent to place the property beyond the control of the owner is guilty of larceny of leased or rented personal property. The act of placing the property beyond the owner's control includes concealing the property, aiding and abetting in the concealment of the property, refusing to return the property to its owner within ten days of the end of the lease period, selling the property, conveying the property and more. The act of aiding or abetting contemplates all assistance rendered by words or acts of encouragement.
A conviction of this crime subjects you to as much as one year in jail, a fine of $1,000 or both. Regardless of this disposition of the case, all defendants convicted of larceny of leased or rented property will be ordered to make restitution for the full value of the loss.What are the Element of Larceny of Leased or Rented Property in Massachusetts?
To succeed in a prosecution of this crime the district attorney must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt. First, that you rented or leased the personal property of another. Second, that you either 1) concealed that property, 2) aided or abetted in the concealment of that property, 3) failed to return that property within ten days after the agreement to lease or rent had expired and 4) sold or conveyed the property without the consent of the owner of the property. Third, that you did this act with the intention to place the property beyond the control of the owner.What are Some Defenses to This Crime?
It is an absolute defense to this crime that you were unaware that the property belonged to someone else or that you had the right to acquire or dispose of the property as you did. Many times these cases are disposed of through Clerk Magistrate Hearings. These cases are often civil in nature, not criminal. A successful clerk’s hearing usually ends the criminal aspect of this case. Prosecutors sometimes believe that the issue of intent in these cases is more appropriately addressed in a non-criminal forum. In the appropriate case your lawyer may be able to convince the prosecutor to drop the case and encourage the complainant to pursue a civil remedy for his grievance.
As with any crime there are many defenses to charges of larceny of leased or rented property. Hiring an experienced Massachusetts theft crimes lawyer is the first step in making sure your rights are protected. There may be several ways to resolve your case. Going to trial is always an option. Motions to dismiss the charges or suppress unlawfully obtained evidence may also be available to you. For over 20 years our office has defended people accused of theft crimes including larceny of leased or rented property with great results. Many of our case results are published in this site. We encourage you to call our office now to discuss any criminal matter you might have.