When most people think of theft crimes, they think of a stranger breaking into your home or business or snatching your purse off you on the street. However, there is another type of theft crime that is almost as common: larceny after trust. This is a crime that occurs when someone you have entrusted to handle your money or property takes advantage of that trust and steals from right under your nose.
Larceny by trust is a crime that is taken very seriously by the authorities, and can result in severe penalties like high fines, long jail sentences, and a criminal record that demonstrates you breached the trust of people who depended on you. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our skilled Maryland larceny after trust defense lawyers have years of experience fighting for our clients who have been charged with this crime. We understand the best ways to craft a defense that will get this charge downgraded or dismissed. Call our office today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.
What Larceny after Trust Means in Maryland
Larceny is just a fancy legal term for theft. Larceny after trust, then, is a theft that occurs after you entrust someone to handle your money or assets. Formerly, larceny by trust, along with larceny, larceny by trick, embezzlement, false pretenses, shoplifting, and receiving stolen property, were charged as separate crimes in the state of Maryland. However, they have now all been consolidated under the single charge of theft.
What makes larceny by trust different than most of these other forms of theft is that the property that is stolen was originally given to the person committing the theft voluntarily for safekeeping. For example, a wealthy grandparent may set up a trust fund for their grandchildren with specific instructions on how the money is to be doled out and when. They may name an old friend as the trustee in charge of monitoring and distributing the money in the trust fund. If you are that trustee, and you take money from the trust not owed to you, you could be guilty of larceny after trust.
It could also be as simple as taking property that you were asked to watch over. Perhaps someone asks you to watch their car while they run into a store, and gives you the keys to keep the air conditioning running. If, instead, you drive away and keep the car for yourself, that is larceny by trust.
How a Larceny after Trust Case Plays Out in the Maryland Court System
Typically, an arrest for larceny after trust will occur after an investigation into the fact that certain assets are missing from a trust fund or account that was entrusted to a third party. After your arrest, you will be booked and likely spend some time in the holding cell before you appear before a judge at your arraignment. At the arraignment, you will be read your rights and asked to plead guilty or not guilty to theft. An experienced attorney like those at the Law Offices of Randolph Rice will likely advise you to plead not guilty at this point while they request discovery and assess the strength of the case against you.
Our attorneys will negotiate with the prosecutor to try to work out a plea deal where you plead guilty to a lesser charge, or to the same charge with a recommendation that you been given a lenient sentence. In exchange, you will be asked to forego your right to a trial. If a deal cannot be reached to your satisfaction, we are ready and able to mount an aggressive defense of your case at trial. In a Maryland criminal case, a unanimous jury most vote to convict, and we will work to make the jury understand there are reasonable doubts about your guilt.
Penalties for Larceny after Trust in Maryland
Theft defenses in Maryland can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Rather than the type of theft committed, such as larceny after trust vs. larceny by trick, the code now classifies these crimes based on the value of the cash or assets stolen. The higher the value, the more likely the charge is to be a felony, and the more severe the penalties will be.
- If the value of the cash or assets stolen is less than $100, the charge is known as “petty theft” and is charged as a misdemeanor. You could be sentenced to up to 90 days in jail and fined up to $500.
- If the value of the cash or assets stolen is between $100 and $1500, the charge is a misdemeanor. You could be sentenced to up to 6 months in jail, and the maximum fine is $500.
- If the value of the cash or assets stolen is between $1,500 and $24,999, the charge is a felony. The maximum prison sentence is five years, and fines can be up to $10,000.
- If the value of the cash or assets stolen is between $25,000 an $99,999, the charge is a felony. You can be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison and fined up to $15,000.
- If the value of the cash or assets stolen is $100,000 or more, you will be charged with a felony. You can face up to 20 years in prison, and the maximum fine is $25,000.
Because this a crime where you have breached the public trust, you could also face further penalties such as suspension of a professional license or certification. Additionally, you will likely be ordered to make restitution of any money you stole.
If You Have Been Charged with Larceny after Trust, Call Our Experienced Maryland Theft Attorneys Today
Theft crimes are taken very seriously by police and prosecutors in Maryland. In addition to large fines and long prison sentences, being convicted of a theft crime can ruin your career, especially if you are someone who handles other people’s money or property commonly. At the Law Offices of Randolph Rice, our Maryland larceny after trust defense lawyers have years of experience successfully defending against all types of thefts charges. We will work to bring your case to the best possible resolution. Call us today at (410) 694-7291 for a free consultation.