In simple terms, grand larceny is taking something of relatively high value that does not belong to you. The legal definition is a little more complex. Under New York Penal Law Section 155, a person who steals property by wrongfully taking, obtaining or withholding property from its owner with the intention of depriving the owner of the property or to take the property for himself or someone else is guilty of grand larceny. Grand larceny is a more serious crime than petit larceny, which is theft of property worth less than $1,000.
Larceny crimes can be complex and carry stiff penalties, especially if the stolen property has a high value. Delaying that first call to an attorney can be costly. The legal team at The Blanch Law Firm includes former prosecutors who have pursued grand larceny charges countless times. Our attorneys know what must be proven and how to ensure prosecutors do not take shortcuts that deprive you of justice. We provide rapid intervention in your case, and our experience and drive for justice protect your rights and improve your potential outcome.
New York law has four categories of grand larceny. Each involves taking property of different values or categories. The higher the degree of the crime, the more severe the penalties. Grand larceny in the fourth degree is charged when a person steals:
- Property valued in excess of $1,000
- Property directly from a victim
- A public record, writing or instrument kept in a public office or by a public servant
- Secret scientific material
- A credit card or a debit card
- One or more firearms, rifles or shotguns
- A motor vehicle valued at more than $100
- A scroll, religious vestment, vessel or other item worth more than $100 and kept in a religious structure
- A telephone access device
- Anhydrous ammonia or liquefied ammonia gas for the intended use of manufacturing methamphetamine.
Grand larceny in the third degree involves stealing:
- Property valued at more than $3,000
- An automated teller machine or its contents
Grand larceny in the second degree is charged when:
- The value of the property exceeds $50,000
- No matter the value, the property is obtained by extortion, threat of physical injury or abuse of power by a public servant
First-degree grand larceny involves the theft of property worth more than $1 million.
Grand larceny charges often go hand in hand with charges of grand theft auto, robbery, weapons violations, welfare fraud, identity theft, drug possession or manufacture, petit larceny, receiving stolen property and conspiracy.
The following penalties apply to conviction for grand larceny. Fourth degree —Class E felony, up to four years in prison Third degree — Class D felony, up to seven years in prison Second degree —Class C felony, up to 15 years in prison First degree — Class B felony, up to 25 years in prison Additionally, the court may assess fines and order you to pay restitution, which is paying back the value of the property stolen. These can be very costly and require long-term payment plans.
A prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, several elements of the crime in order to obtain a conviction: That you wrongfully took, obtained or withheld property from its owner, that you did so with the intent to deprive the owner of the property and keep it for yourself or someone else, and that the property is among those listed in the penal code for grand larceny. The qualified attorneys at The Blanch Law Firm challenge each one of those elements with evidence and testimony that raises doubts for the jurors. One of the leading defenses is that you had no intent. One might also argue that holding the property was an accident or misunderstanding or that the value of the property has been misstated, which might result in a lesser offense being charged.
Except for a few narrow categories of theft involving interstate commerce and federal agencies or moneys, larceny is only charged at the state level.
Grand larceny is a very common charge. There are thousands of cases in New York each year. Examples of grand larceny include auto theft, shoplifting of a large amount of goods, and money or property obtained through identity theft or credit card fraud. Medicaid fraud has been on prosecutors’ radar in recent years, resulting in numerous cases. It should be noted that if the theft involves several lower-value items, the degree of the charge is based on the total value of the property. Hence, taking 50 $20 items will result in a grand larceny rather than a petit larceny charge.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office recently has secured several convictions for grand larceny involving Medicaid fraud schemes. In September 2013, Salim and Tirnawati Bakhsh, who pleaded guilty to second- and third-degree grand larceny, second- and third-degree welfare fraud and offering a false instrument for filing, were ordered to pay $198,000 in restitution. Tirnawati was sentenced to one to three years in prison; Salim to five years in prison.