In Illinois, theft by deception means obtaining control of another’s property through deception. For example, you pretended you were authorized to collect money on behalf of a creditor or charity.

Theft by deception can include making false statements to obtain a car loan or induce others to invest in a nonexistent venture. In one Illinois case, the defendant pretended to be an attorney, collected legal fees and bond money but never bonded the “client” out of jail.

To convict you, the state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the victim was induced to part with money; (2) the transfer of the money was based upon deception; (3) you intended to permanently deprive the victim of the money; and (4) you acted with the specific intent to defraud the victim. (See People v. Reich.)

The degree of your offense may depends on how much you took, where, what and from whom. For example, less than $500 is a Class A misdemeanor. Between $500 and $10,000 is a Class 3 felony, $10,000 to $100,000 is a Class 2 felony and $100,000 to $500,000 is a Class 1 felony. However, if the theft was at a school or place or worship or involved governmental property, your charges can be kicked up a notch so that the misdemeanor would now be a Class 4 felony and the Class 1 felony would be a Class X.

There are also increased charges if your victim was at least 60 years of age or you pretended to represent a landlord.

If you are charged with this or a similar offense, contact an experienced criminal law attorney immediately. Do not talk about your situation to the police or a third party. Any attempts to explain yourself may give the state the evidence they need to win a conviction.

An experienced attorney can review your case for its best possible defense. Perhaps the state cannot prove all the elements of the crime, for example, that you deceived or specifically intended to defraud the alleged victim. Maybe the charges result from a misunderstanding about the work you had agreed to undertake. Even if the evidence against you is overwhelming, an attorney who is respected in the courthouse may be able to negotiate a more favorable plea agreement than you could on your own.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

Source: Illinois Theft by Deception law.

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)

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