In New York, larceny (NY PL 155.25) occurs when a person “wrongfully takes, obtains or withholds” property from its rightful owner, with the intent to deprive the owner of such property. This can also occur by using tricks or embezzlement, obtaining property under false pretenses, acquiring lost property, or taking property by extortion. New York classifies a theft or larceny crime according to the monetary value of the property involved.
The types of larceny that exists are the following:
• Shoplifting: this is an offense that is usually prosecuted under petty larceny statutes. This can vary from state but in NY, it is a petit larceny charge. It can be upgraded based on the amount of the property taken.
• Embezzlement: this is a crime that generally involves incidents where people take funds or property that they have access to because of their positions. In most cases, the schemes used to execute these crimes are more complex than simply seeing something and taking it.
• Grand Larceny: Grand larceny is a petit larceny that exceeds $1,000. Grand Larceny can be in the 4th, 3rd, or 2nd degree. The penalties increase with each degree.
New York law classifies petit larceny as a class A misdemeanor. A sentence for conviction of a class A misdemeanor in New York may include imprisonment for a term not to exceed one year and a fine not to exceed $1,000. This can be pleaded down and in most cases jail time is not served for petit larceny.
Defending again a petit larceny charge is rather common and simple. Here are some of the defenses used:
• Never Left The Store: Most cases of petit larceny is shoplifting and deals with store fronts. Many people who have been accused of petit larceny raise the issue of “leaving the store." While the issue of “leaving the store” is relevant, it is not a requirement of the offense. The issue with this defense however deals with intent which is a necessary requirement. If one can provide that the intent was not to steal the item, the defense can be successful.
• Arrested with someone else: Another common situation in petit larceny defense arises when more than one person is arrested for stealing the same items. Frequently, one person who is arrested will be found to have the items in question in his possession and the other person will not have any stolen property in his or her possession. This is usually comes from a pair of people working to steal items. The defense is that I was just accompanying them to the store and had no intention of stealing the item.
Federal larceny theft laws are not the same as larceny theft laws that pertain to the states. Although virtually all states recognize larceny theft, federal larceny theft laws are focused on the protection of public property from theft.
In 2013, Halfmoon New York town supervisor Mindy Wormuth was arraigned by federal authorities on a variety of counts, including grand larceny, in connection with allegedly receiving $7,500 in exchange for using her influence to support local legislation. She was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison and ordered to pay $11,000 in penalties.