Larceny By False Pretenses

Elements of the Offense

There are four elements to the criminal offense of Larceny By False Pretenses in Virginia.  The government must first prove that the defendant made a false representation as to a past event or existing fact.  Second, the government must prove that, when the false representation was made, the defendant had an intent to defraud the other person by causing that other person to part with both possession of and title to the property.  Third, the government must prove that, because of the false representation, the other person parted with possession and title to the property.  Finally, the government must prove that the property had some value.

If the government can prove that the property was valued at $200 or more, the offense will be graded as a felony.  If the property was value at less than $200, then the offense is a misdemeanor.


The penalty for a first-time conviction for larceny by false pretenses as a felony is a term of imprisonment of one to 20 years and/or a maximum fine of $2,500.  The offense as a misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum 12 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,500.  Virginia Criminal Code §18.2-178.