Articles Posted in Grand Larceny by Scheme to Defraud

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In what can be described as an interesting twist on an increasingly common crime, Queens prosecutors have charged Delloyd Hill, a.k.a., Tom Hill, with multiple counts of Grand Larceny, Identity Theft and Scheme to Defraud for allegedly defrauding a half-a-dozen physicians. Hill’s arrest stems from an investigation by the NYPD and the Queens County District Attorney’s office into Hill’s alleged scheme where he posed as a Harvard graduate and convinced numerous doctors to invest in an allegedly bogus medical facility. Further, it is claimed by law enforcement that Hill convinced these doctors that he was interviewing them for particular positions at the alleged fictitious facility.

According to prosecutors, between April 23, 2012, and September 25, 2012, Hill is alleged to have opened three lines of credit with the medical equipment financing company, TCF Equipment Finance Inc. The three lines of credit were opened using personal identifying information of unknowing physicians totaling in excess of $400,000. These lines allegedly totaled $215,000, $200,000, and an undetermined amount respectively. In addition to the lines of credit, District Attorney Brown believes that Hill defrauded his landlord and another individual to invest a total of $65,000 into the claimed bogus business venture.

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In in a previous blog entry I addressed what constitutes a New York Scheme to Defraud under Penal Law 190.60 and 190.65. Experienced New York Grand Larceny defense attorneys, specifically those familiar with white-collar theft and fraud crimes, know that a Scheme to Defraud indictment often comes hand-in-hand with the charge of Grand Larceny. Many times, this Grand Larceny is premised in “false promises.” Logically, a Scheme to Defraud must be set into action by a lie; the scheme is predicated on a false promise or false representation. Thus, if you are involved in a Scheme to Defraud in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx or Westchester County, you likely may also be charged with “larceny by false promise” as defined under New York Penal Law 155.05(2)(d). Remember, that such a larceny is the manner in which the crime is perpetrated. The potential punishment or degree of the offense is still dictated by the value or amount of the actual theft.

In the context of Scheme to Defraud, a false promise is a representation that the schemer makes promising some future conduct will occur. This if often part of an overarching Scheme to Defraud (whereby the schemer ultimately steals property), without the intention to ever follow through with promised conduct. For instance, suppose I run a business that is going bankrupt. In a scheme to defraud, I tell a twenty investors that my company is gaining significant profits and they will surely receive a high amount of return in the next fiscal quarter. I fully intend to take their money and head for my villa in the south of France. In this hypothetical, I have committed a larceny by false promise and a Scheme to Defraud. The investors were never actually going to receive any profits from my failing business, and I never intended to give them any return on their investment as I promised.

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New York is no stranger to white-collar crime. In this recession, post-Madoff era it is no wonder that District Attorney’s throughout the greater New York City area are coming down hard on white-collar criminals. In today’s blog post I’d like to discuss one of the laws often at the center of many white-collar prosecutions: Scheme to Defraud. New York Penal Law 190.65 defines Scheme to Defraud in the First Degree (summarizing in my own language – follow the highlighted link for our legal our more detailed legal analysis) as an ongoing plan to obtain property by false pretenses/fraud from multiple people. Usually, the schemer devised the plan with the express purpose of gaining property from multiple victims and executes the plan continuously (often over an extended period of time).

Now, for purposes of the Scheme to Defraud law, property does not have to be a tangible thing (e.g. money, antique stamps or electronics). Case law throughout the years has expanded what constitutes property under NY Penal Law 155.00 to include intangibles. For instance, some intangibles that constitute property are: contractual rights (e.g. a contract to renovate a hotel), a tenant’s legal right to posses an apartment, the right to conduct business (e.g. right of a waste management company to service a restaurant), and a right to be employed (e.g. a union official’s right to a position that he held). However, there are limits as to these intangibles that are included, and today I’d like to discuss one such limitation.

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