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Obtaining a Title to Property

False Pretenses

Obtaining a property title under false pretenses is a statutory crime. There are many false pretenses that a criminal may utilize in order to illegally obtain property titles. In any case, the intent is to defraud an individual in order to gain property title rights. Those rights must be obtained with the intent to utilize facts that the offender knows to be untrue or misleading. In many jurisdictions that property can be tangible or intangible. In fact, the statute can cover goods and services that were obtained due to fraudulent activities. Offenders that obtain property titles through deception gain the bundle of rights that have been granted to that property through a willful misrepresentation of facts. Property titles grant ownership rights, in addition to a bundle of other rights, to a specific lot and block of an area of land. In addition, property titles may also grant ownership of a structure contained on a specific portion of land. A property title may have varying rights of ownership or possession associated with them. In order to be accused of gaining property titles through false pretenses, several factors must be present in the case. The perpetrator must obtain the property title utilizing facts that they know to be false. They may also manipulate facts that are true in order to deceive the victim. The perpetrator may manipulate facts from the past or twist facts as they are in the present, but they will not make false statements about the future. In either case, the perpetrator obtains the property title through manipulation and deceit. Also, the victim must have relinquished the property title because of the deceit, absent other intervening factors. In other words, the victim must not have been willing to turn over any property titles if the deceit had not been committed. For example, a person that sells their property for some amount of money due to deceit must not have been willing to sell it if the act of manipulation had not been committed. Otherwise, the perpetrator would only be guilty of lying which is not punishable according to this statute. If the victim has doubt about facts presented during the transfer of title, they must voice those doubts before they relinquish property rights. If they fail to do so, they cannot claim that they were deceived into relinquishing those rights because they had a belief that something may have been misrepresented but transferred the title anyway. Conversely, the offender must commit fraud in the affirmative. In other words, they must willingly deceive by purposefully misrepresenting a fact through a statement. A person cannot be charged with this specific crime if they failed to disclose some information, especially about the future.

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