Ct. App. Ohio, 1926
Facts: Defendant was the 'business manager' of 'Life's Estate, Ltd.,' a corporation chartered for the purpose of 'introducing people.'
-D feloniously took $13,590 from Mrs. Maude Neal on June 19, 1948, and $4,470 from her on August 3, 1948.
-The remaining two counts charged that he feloniously took $3,000 from Mrs. Mattie Russ on November 19, 1948 and $4,200 from her on December 4, They turned the money over to defendant in reliance on his representations that they would get an interest in property which they believed he owned.
Issue: Whether the evidence is sufficient to support a conviction for either type of theft, and that the general verdict of guilty was lawful?
Holding: Yes, the evidence sustained the conviction.
Procedural History: Defendant was convicted in the Superior Court, on four counts of grand theft, and he appealed. The S Ct Affirmed.
Rule: Larceny by trick and device is the appropriation of property, the possession of which was fraudulently acquired. CA Pen.Code, § 484.
-Obtaining property by false pretenses is the fraudulent or deceitful acquisition of both title and possession.
Analysis: These two offenses, with other larcenous crimes, have been consolidated into the single crime of theft, Pen.Code, s 484. The purpose of the consolidation was to remove the technicalities that existed in the pleading and proof of these crimes at common law.
-Information charging the crime of 'theft' can now simply allege an 'unlawful taking.'
-Juries can return a general verdict of guilty if they find that an 'unlawful taking' has been proved. A judgment of conviction of theft, based on a general verdict of guilty, can be sustained only if the evidence discloses the elements of one of the consolidated offenses.
-In the present case, it is clear from the record that each of the prosecuting witnesses intended to pass both title and possession, and that the D intended to commit a type of theft, in the present case, of obtaining property by false pretenses.
Plaintiff's Argument: The defendant made a false pretense or representation with intent to defraud the owner of his property, and that the owner was in fact defrauded.
Defendant's Argument: There was no unlawful taking of any sort.