false pretense | Definition

Doc's CJ Glossary by Adam J. McKee
Course: Criminal Law

In the criminal law context, false pretense refers to a type of fraud in which a person intentionally and knowingly makes false or misleading representations to another person in order to induce that person to part with money, property, or something else of value.

The false representation must have been a significant factor in causing the other person to part with the property or value.

Examples of false pretense can include things like selling a car by falsely claiming that it has never been in an accident or obtaining a loan by providing false information on a loan application. In order to prove a charge of false pretense, the prosecution must usually prove that the accused made the false representation with the intent to deceive and that the person to whom the representation was made relied on that representation in parting with the property or value.

The punishment for false pretense varies depending on the jurisdiction and the case’s specific circumstances. Typically, it’s considered a serious criminal offense and can result in fines, imprisonment, or both depending on the gravity of the crime.

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Last Modified: 01/10/2023


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