Massachusetts Legal Developments Blog

What is Required for a Receipt of Stolen Property Conviction?

For many people who purchase items online with some frequency, it is not unusual to receive more than what you paid for from time to time. While many people respond to these situations by keeping the extra items, a Massachusetts case has called into question whether this is the best way to proceed.

Recently, a man in Massachusetts decided to keep a flat screen TV that had been sent to his home by mistake and as a result, the man was arrested and charged with larceny. The man was sent a TV that was 10” larger than the one he had ordered. The man decided to keep the TV. The shipping company that wrongly delivered the TV, however, made several efforts to contact the man before involving law enforcement in the matter.

Even though it might seem like there is nothing wrong with what the man did, this example provides a reminder of why a person should think twice about keeping property that was wrongly sent to them. The following will review some of the laws that come into play when property offenses are involved.

Massachusetts Law Regarding the Receipt of Stolen Property

Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 266 Section 60 states that any individual who helps conceal stolen property that he or she knew was stolen is at risk of being charged with receipt of stolen property.

This offense can result in over two years in jail for first offense as well as over five years in prison for a second or additional offense. A person can also end up facing more than five years in prison if the value of the property stolen is greater than $250.

The Elements of a Receipt of Stolen Property Offense

In Massachusetts, the prosecution must establish before a court of law that several elements exist to convict an individual of receiving stolen property. These elements include the following:

  • The property was stolen. Demonstrating this element requires the prosecution to establish that a person took and carried away property without the right to do so or the consent of the owner. The person who is charged must also have intended to deprive the property owner of the property permanently.

  • The person being charged was aware that the property was stolen. Establishing this element requires proving that the defendant had actual knowledge that the property was stolen.

  • The person being charged possessed, purchased, or helped to conceal the stolen property. For the purpose of this element, an individual is determined to have “received” property if that individual takes custody or control of the property.

Speak with an Experienced Accident Attorney

Being charged with larceny can result in serious penalties. If you or a loved one needs the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney to respond to such charges, contact attorney Edward R Molari to schedule a free initial consultation.