Defense of Those Charged with Larceny by Check
Larceny by check is criminalized by G.L. c. 266, §37. If you are being prosecuted for larceny by check, the Commonwealth is charging you with knowingly paying for goods or services with a “bad check.” Of course, not everyone keeps a scrupulous record the amount of money in his checking account, and people often make mistakes. What separates mistakes from criminal conduct is often knowledge coupled with intent.
The Elements of the Crime
To convict an individual of larceny by check under G.L. c. 266, §37, the Commonwealth must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, he:
- Had intent to defraud
- Made/drew/uttered/delivered a check
- Knowing his account did not have the necessary funds for cover the check, and
- Obtained goods or services in exchange for the check.
To make a prima facie case that the individual intended to commit larceny by check the Commonwealth will often subpoena his bank records to demonstrate that the bank notified him that his check bounced and he did not, within two days, deposit sufficient funds into his account to cover the check. Indeed, the Commonwealth has the burden of proving the bank sent the defendant notice of the deficiency and he made no effort to make good on his obligation.
If the individual did not obtain money, property or services as the result of his intent to defraud, he may be convicted of attempted larceny.
A defendant found guilty of larceny by check, where the value of the goods or services do not exceed $250.00, may be sentenced to up to one year in jail or fined $300.00; Where the value of the goods or services exceeds $250.00, a defendant may be sentenced to up to five years in prison or two years in jail and fined up to $25,000.00. Most courts will also require the defendant to pay restitution to the victim. Additional penalties may be imposed if the victim is 60 years of age or older or where the victim is disabled.
Cambridge, MA Criminal Defense Lawyers
If you have been accused of larceny by check, contact the Mahoney Criminal Defense Group at 617-492-0055 to schedule a free in-office consultation.