Does a Victim Ever Exaggerate the Value of Property in Grand Theft Cases? PC 487(a)

April 30, 2023

When a defendant is charged with grand theft under Penal Code 487(a), the value of the property taken is an important factor in determining the severity of the charge. Grand theft can be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the value of the property taken. Under California law, grand theft is defined as the theft of property with a value of more than $950.

However, in some cases, the alleged victim may exaggerate the value of the property taken in order to increase the severity of the charge against the defendant. This can be done for a variety of reasons, such as to seek a harsher punishment for the defendant, to seek a larger financial settlement, or to gain leverage in a civil lawsuit.

One example of this would be if an alleged victim claims that a stolen piece of jewelry is worth a certain amount when in reality, it is worth much less. This exaggeration of value could lead to the defendant being charged with grand theft instead of petty theft, which carries a harsher punishment.

Another example would be when the alleged victim of a theft is a business, they may exaggerate the value of the stolen goods to gain a higher settlement or to make the defendant appear more guilty.

It is important to note that exaggeration of the value of the stolen property is illegal under California law. It is considered to be a form of perjury, and the alleged victim could face criminal charges if it is proven that they made false statements under oath. Additionally, the defendant’s attorney may use this as a defense in court, arguing that the alleged victim’s exaggeration of the value of the property calls into question the credibility of their entire testimony.

It is the job of the prosecution to prove the value of the property taken, and the defense attorney to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. The defense attorney can use expert witness testimony, receipts, invoices, or other documents to prove the true value of the property taken is less than $950, and thus, the defendant can be charged with petty theft instead of grand theft.

Contact Us for Help in Southern California

If you are charged with grand theft under PC 487(a) in Southern California, then give the Law Offices of John D. Rogers a call. Contact us to schedule a free confidential consultation to discuss your options. Attorney John D. Rogers is a board-certified criminal law specialist by the State Bar of California. He routinely represents clients charged with theft crimes in both state and federal court.

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