Obtaining Money by False Pretenses

Nevada recognizes crimes in which someone misrepresents themselves in order to collect money from another person for fraudulent reasons as both a standalone crime and as a charge that can be grouped with additional charges that are related depending on the circumstances – such as burglary. Crimes of this nature can result in very serious penalties that may have negative long-term effects and anyone who has been charged with a crime of obtaining money by false pretenses should contact an experienced attorney at their earliest opportunity.


Defining the Crime of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses

While you may not have heard it referred to by this term before, most people are still familiar with what a crime of ‘obtaining money by false pretenses’ actually is in practice. Legally, Nevada defines it in the following way (NRS 205.380):

●      “Knowingly and designedly by any false pretense obtains from any other person any chose in action, money, goods, wares, chattels, effects or other valuable things, including rent or the labor of another person not his or her employee, with the intent to cheat or defraud the other person.” 

As listed, this statute refers to using false pretenses for obtaining not only money but also specifically of property, rent or labor or services.

A key part of proving guilt in this type of crime is proving that the act was done with the deliberate intention to defraud or cheat another person to obtain money. This can often include falsely misrepresenting yourself in order to obtain money from someone who is relying on the misrepresentation that you have presented to them.


Examples of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses

One example of a recently relevant crime in Nevada which was ruled to be in part a case of obtaining money under false pretenses involved a man who was already incarcerated for committing unemployment insurance fraud. He was able to direct his girlfriend over the phone to use his social security number to continue filing the forms needed to collect his unemployment benefits claims. Using this method, they managed to acquire a total of $1,440 in benefits before their crime was recognized. After a trial, the jury found that the evidence presented for the case proved that the defendant, who by being incarcerated was not legally eligible to receive any unemployment benefits, had “counseled, encouraged, hired, commanded, induced, or otherwise procured another to obtain more than $650 by false pretenses”. The amount of the illegally received benefits made the crime a category B felony in the state of Nevada.

A few other examples of crimes that are typically considered to be obtaining money under false pretenses include situations like the following:

●      Accepting payment from a buyer for the sale of property that is then never given or transferred to the buyer.

●      Accepting payment for a job or labor that intentionally has not been and/or won’t be completed.

●      Accepting payment for a service that was never actually performed and for which there is no intention to perform.

●      As a landlord, collecting or requiring rent payments from tenants while the property they are paying to rent is not actually accessible to them.


Relation Between Charges of Burglary and Obtaining Money by False Pretenses

Nevada has a very expansive definition of the kind of crimes that can be considered “burglary”. Obtaining money by false pretenses is one of these crimes. This categorization is listed in NRS 205.060, which defines burglary as a crime in which:

●      “A person who, by day or night, enters any house, room, apartment, tenement, shop, warehouse, store, mill, barn, stable, outhouse or other building, tent, vessel, vehicle, vehicle trailer, semitrailer, or house trailer, airplane, glider, boat or railroad car, with the intent to commit grand or petit larceny, assault or battery on any person or any felony, or to obtain money or property by false pretenses”.

Obtaining Money under false pretensesFormer legal definitions of burglary in Nevada required that breaking and entering must have taken place in order for a charge of burglary to apply, but this is no longer the case. In fact, for a charge of burglary to apply based on the current legal definition, the alleged offender does not even have to have physically entered the building to be found guilty of a burglary – it only needs to be proven that there was either a deliberate attempt or even just a clear intention to commit the crime.


Penalties for a Conviction of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses

The penalties for this crime can vary in severity based on the amount of money that has been fraudulently obtained.


For Falsely Obtaining Money in an Amount Less Than $650

This is classified as a misdemeanor crime in Nevada with the following penalties:

●      Up to six months in jail and/or

●      Up to $1,000 in potential fines

●      Restitution paid in full to the victim of the fraud


For Falsely Obtaining Money in an Amount Over $650

This is classified as a category B felony in Nevada with the following penalties:

●      From one to six years in Nevada State Prison and/or

●      Up to $10,000 in potential fines

●      Restitution paid in full to the victim of the fraud


Defending Charges of Obtaining Money by False Pretenses

Because the prosecution will be required to provide the burden of proof regarding this and any additional applicable charges, it may be possible for your attorney to demonstrate that the evidence and circumstances of your case do not prove that you had an intent to commit this crime.

If you or someone that you care about has been charged with obtaining money under false pretenses, with or without any related additional charges, it is very important that you seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. With a thorough understanding of the circumstances that led you to be charged, your attorney may be able to build an effective defense of the case against you. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation. We want to hear your side of the story.


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