State v. Clermont


Defendant convicted of obtaining money by false pretenses.  Defendant had 2000 fake circus tickets printed and sold at $10 per.  Defendant did not deliver the tickets himself, but was in the vicinity when delivery occurred.  None of the tickets, however, were ever used.


Whether the making of false tickets constitutes theft, even though the false tickets are later accepted by the show producers.


Yes.  When defendant sold the fake tickets, he obtained money under false pretenses and therefore is guilty of theft.  The misrepresentation itself constitutes the intent required to convict.  The intent requirement is satisfied at the time of the act, not at a later date.  It is no defense that the circus later decided to admit all tickets, fake or real.  It is not a defense that the circus itself provided restitution to the victims on its own accord.


The model penal code refers to false pretense as “theft by deception.”  This includes “creating or reinforcing a false impression, preventing the victim from obtaining correct information, or failing to correct a false impression created by the defendant.”

The party that received the misrepresentation was not harmed by this theft act.  However, the sponsors of the event were.

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