Could I be charged with theft by deception?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Could I be charged with theft by deception?

I bought a phone from a 3rd party over
the internet. I sold the phone at a
later date. The person who bought the
phone later said the phone was
lost/stolen. They contacted me and I
investigated the matter to find out this
was true. They have contacted the police
and I have been cooperative. Looking for
some insight on this matter.

Asked on December 30, 2017 under Criminal Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, you did not commit theft (whether by deception or otherwise) becaue you are not  the one who took it from them or assisted someone in taking it from them. If there was something suspicious about the transaction or the person you were buying it from--some reason to suspect they may be selling stolen goods--you could potentially be charged with something like receiving or trafficking in stolen goods, but that would only be if you had some knowledge or reasonable suspicion that you might be purchasing a stolen phone. On the other hand, if to your knowledge, the person was selling a phone he legitimately owned or had acquired, you did nothing criminal at all.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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