LARCENY OF LEASED OR RENTED PERSONAL PROPERTY

LARCENY OF LEASED OR RENTED PERSONAL PROPERTY

This blog post will answer the following legal questions on the crime of larceny of leased or rented personal property:

  • How does the Commonwealth prove a defendant guilty of the offense of larceny of leased or rented personal property?
  • What does it mean to “fail to return after notice”?
  • What happens if evidence is presented of providing false information?
  • Can a defendant be convicted of larceny of leased or rented personal property if the defendant was unaware the property belonged to another or that he had a right to acquire or dispose of the property as he or she did?
  • Does the property owner whose property was stolen get restored if a defendant is convicted of larceny of leased or rented personal property?

How does the Commonwealth prove a defendant guilty of the offense of larceny of leased or rented personal property?

Under Commonwealth law, a person can be charged with larceny of leased or rented personal property.

In order to prove a defendant guilty of the offense, the Commonwealth must prove the following three elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt (ALL):

  • That the defendant leased or rented some personal property
  • That the defendant (ANY):
    • Concealed some or all of that property
    • Aided or abetted in concealing some or all of that property
    • Failed or refused to return such property to its owner within 10 days after the lease or rental agreement had expired
    • Sold, conveyed, or pledged some or all of that property without the written consent of its owner
  • That the defendant did one of the previous acts with the intention to place such property beyond the control of its owner.

Note that to “aid and abet”means all assistance rendered by acts, words of encouragement or support, or presence, actual or constructive, or the readiness to render assistance, should it become necessary, and no particular acts are necessary.

Note that similar, but separate larceny-related crimes include the following (ALL):

What does it mean to “fail to return after notice”?

Evidence can be presented in a larceny of leased or rented personal property case suggesting that a defendant failed to return property within 10 days after being notified to do so. If this has been proved, it can be considered relevant to the issue of the defendant’s intent.

Commonwealth law provides that if (EITHER):

  • The owner demanded the return of property in a letter sent by certified or registered mail to the defendant at the address he or she gave when he or she entered into the lease or rental agreement
  • The defendant was otherwise aware that the owner had demanded the return of the property, and failed to return the property within 10 days

…the Commonwealth is permitted to infer that the defendant intended to place such property beyond the control of the owner. Note that jurors are not required to draw such inferences of intent, but they might.

Even if there is contrary evidence, jurors can still consider a failure to return property within 10 days of notice as some evidence about the defendant’s intent, and can weigh it in their deliberations along with all the rest of evidence on the issue in question.

What happens if evidence is presented of providing false information?

 In a case of larceny of leased or rented personal property evidence can be presented suggesting that when the defendant obtained the property in question, he or shegave some certain erroneous information. If jurors find that this fact has been proven, it could be relevant to the issue regarding the defendant’s intent.

Commonwealth law provides that if the defendant gave identification or information about his or her name, address, employer, or some other significant item that was false, misleading, or outdated in some significant way, jurors are permitted to infer that the defendant intended to place the property beyond the control of the owner. Note that jurors are not required to draw such an inference of intent, but they could.

Even if there has been contrary evidence, jurors can still consider the giving of erroneous information or identification as some evidence about the defendant’s intent, and they can weigh it in their deliberations, along with all the rest of the evidence on that issue.

Can a defendant be convicted of larceny of leased or rented personal property if the defendant was unaware the property belonged to another or that he had a right to acquire or dispose of the property as he or she did? 

NO, a defendant CANNOT be convicted of larceny of leased or rented personal property if the defendant was unaware the property belonged to another or that he had a right to acquire or dispose of the property as he or she did.

Does the property owner whose property was stolen get restored if a defendant is convicted of larceny of leased or rented personal property?

 YES, upon a defendant’s conviction under the statute forbidding larceny of leased or rented personal property, the statute requires that the convicting judge, in addition to any sentence imposed, order restitution to the owner for any financial loss of the property in question.

IF YOU OR A LOVED ONE HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH LARCENY OF LEASED OR RENTED PERSONAL PROPERTY, AND YOU NEED AN EXPERIENCED CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYER WORKING ON YOUR SIDE TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS, PLEASE CONTACT CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY WILLIAM J. BARABINO.

 CALL 781-393-5900 TO LEARN MORE ABOUT YOUR AVAILABLE DEFENSES.

Source: Instruction 8.580

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