Have you Been Charged with Theft by Conversion for Real Property Improvements in Georgia?
Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Theft by Conversion Lawyers can help if you or a loved one has been charged with theft by conversion for real property improvements. Remember, a charge is not the same as a conviction, so it is vital to your case to get a lawyer that is knowledgeable in the field of theft.
Georgia Law O.C.G.A. §16-18-5(a) reads as follows:
Any architect, landscape architect, engineer, contractor, subcontractor, or other person who with the intent to defraud, uses the proceeds of any payment made to him for the purpose of improving real property for any other purpose than to pay for labor or services performed on or materials furnished for this specific improvement while any amount for which he may be or become liable for such labor, services, or materials remains unpaid commits the crime of conversion of payments for real property improvements.
Also, if a corporation's agent acts within the scope of his office or employment and on behalf of the corporation with the intent to defraud uses the money for purposes other than property improvements, they have also committed the crime of conversion of payments for real property improvements. A corporation's board of directors or manager can also be guilty of this if within the scope of their employment they recklessly tolerate or with intent to defraud, authorize, request, or command the use of such proceeds for purposes other than for property improvements.
The accused was found not guilty of conversion of payments for real property improvements in Thompson v. State. 233 Ga. App. 702, (1998). In that case, the accused was hired to perform stucco work in a restaurant. He arranged with a ceiling contractor, Yearty, to purchase the materials needed. The accused refused to pay Yearty the value of the materials. The accused brought evidence that he believed that Yearty owned him money and his withholding of payments from Yearty was intended to be an offset of the debt. Based on that evidence, the Court ruled that the State had failed to prove that the accused had the specific intent to defraud Yearty and therefore, he was not guilty.
What Needs to be Proven
To be convicted of conversion of payments for real property improvements, the State must demonstrate that you had the intent to convert the funds beyond a reasonable doubt.
Penalty for Theft by Conversion for Real Property Improvements
The penalty for being convicted of theft for real property improvements is confinement of no less than one year and no more than five years determined by either the trial judge or the jury. Also, the crime could be charged as a felony or a misdemeanor, which is also left to the discretion of the judge. Having a felony conviction on your record could affect your chances of gaining employment in the future and cause you to lose the ability to own a firearm. If convicted of a misdemeanor instead of a felony, there is a possibility the judge could order probation. Your Georgia Conversion of Payments Attorney will ensure that you have the best defense possible and that you receive the fair treatment through t
When a corporation is convicted of fraud and guilty of the crime of conversion of payments for real property improvements, they will be punished by a fine of no less than $1,000.00 nor more than $5,000.00.
Defenses in Georgia
Lack of Intent: Conversion of theft for real property improvements requires not only the general intent required of all criminal statutes but also a specific intent to defraud the victim. The prosecution must prove that you satisfied both intent requirements. Your Georgia Conversion Attorney will seek to negate any intent evidence that the prosecution tries to introduce to either get you a lesser charge or to clear you of the charge.
Innocence: If you have an alibi or witness testimony proving that you did not commit the crime, that evidence will be vital to you in court. Your Lawyer will use this evidence to help you receive an acquittal.
There are a plethora of other defenses that can be used for theft so call one of our Theft Attorneys in Georgia if you have been charged with the crime conversion of payments for real property improvements. Your Lawyer will tailor a solid defense based on your case.
What are not Defenses
I repaid the victims later: Paying back the victims for money taken without their consent does not provide a defense to a charge of conversion of payments for real property improvements. However, it could help you look more sympathetic to a jury, and your Attorney could use that action to obtain a lesser penalty for your case.
Call Lawson and Berry to speak to one of our Georgia Conversion for Payments Lawyers and schedule a free consultation. Formulating a defense on your own can be overwhelming and seemingly impossible. Our Attorneys are highly knowledgeable and will assist you in formulating the best possible defense for your case. We will walk you through every step of the process, and we are dedicated to being accessible to you- days, nights, weekends, and holidays while working hard on your behalf. Your Attorney will make sure you understand all of your options and advise you on the best approach to take for your case based on their many years of experience. Don't wait to contact one of our Lawyers. Your future is at stake. Do not sit around waiting for your case to resolve itself.