Consumer Law at Your Fingertips
advertising & sales claims
Theft by Fraud
A seller may be guilty of theft by fraud under Wisconsin Statutes section 943.20(1)(d) if the seller, with intent to defraud, obtains the consumer’s money or other property by intentionally deceiving the consumer with a false representation that the contractor knows to be false. County district attorneys prosecute criminal theft cases. To convict on a charge of theft by fraud, a prosecutor must prove all the following elements (see Wisconsin Criminal Jury Instructions):
- The defendant made a false representation to an owner of property (money).
- The defendant knew that the representation was false.
- The defendant made the representation with intent to deceive and defraud.
- The defendant obtained title to owner’s property (money) by means of the false representation.
- The property owner was deceived by the representation.
- The property owner was defrauded by the representation. In other words, the property owner parted with his or her property (money) at least partially in reliance upon the fraudulent representation.