If the defendant has no prior conviction and the amount taken is less than $200, there is a possible penalty of up to 93 days in jail and / or fine up to $500, or 3 times the value, whichever is greater. Usually, there is some form of plea bargain available for this misdemeanor.
False pretenses $200 but < $1000
Where a defendant has one or more violations or the amount taken is more than $200 but less than $1000, there can be jail of up to one year and / or a fine of $2000 or 3 times the value, whichever is greater. While still a misdemeanor, judges are not happy seeing a person for the 2nd time on the same offense.
False pretenses $1000 but < $20,000
Where a defendant has a prior conviction of the 1 year misdemeanor or has taken more than $1000 but less than $20,000 the offense is charged as a 5 year felony. Criminal guidelines apply to the sentence. Fines can be $10,000 or 3 times the value, whichever is larger. Repeat offenses can earn habitual offender status.
False pretenses $20,000 but < $50,000
Where there are two or more severe prior convictions or the amount taken is $20,000 but less than $50,000, the charge is a 15-year felony. The charge is subject to guidelines and habitual supplement. The fine can be $15,000 or 3 times value, whichever is greater.
False pretenses $50,000 but less than $100,000
Still a 15-year felony, similar to the previous level, but the fine can be $25,000 or 3 times value, whichever is greater.
False pretenses $100,000 or more
The penalty is a 20 year felony, with a fine of $35,000 or 3 times value, whichever is greater.
Be aware that the prosecutor can collect acts over a one year period to reach a "course of conduct" total. Defraud someone of $100 per month for a year and end up with a felony.
Additional resources provided by the author
A tremendous range of behavior is covered by this law. See the full statute at the link provided below.
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