Massachusetts Receiving Stolen Property Lawyer


If you are charged with Receiving Stolen Property it is important that you reach out to an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney to help you craft a defense strategy for your case. Receiving Stolen Property is a criminal offense in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is a serious charge that has the potential consequences of going to jail, facing probation, potential fines and fees and a criminal conviction. The lawyers at Ellison Law LLC are Massachusetts criminal defense lawyers, who have handled many Receiving Stolen Property cases throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

What are the Penalties for Receiving Stolen Property in Massachusetts?

There are different penalties for receiving stolen property depending on the amount in question that was stolen. The threshold amount is $1,200, and the law punishes you based on the alleged worth of the stolen property.

Penalties For Receiving Stolen Property Over $1,200:

  • up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction (county jail)
  • up to 5 years in State Prison
  • up to a $5,000 Fine
  • Possible Felony Conviction
  • Possible Probation

Penalties For Receiving Stolen Property Under $1,200:

  • up to 2 and a half years in the House of Correction (county jail)
  • up to a $3,000 Fine
  • Possible Misdemeanor Conviction
  • Possible Probation

Read More About the Changes to the Felony Threshold Amount for Property Crimes in the Massachusetts Criminal Justice Reform Act

What are the Elements for Receiving Stolen Property in Massachusetts?

In order to prove receiving stolen property, the prosecution has to prove you did the following three things:

  • That the property in question was stolen;
  • That you knew that the property had been stolen; and
  • That you knowingly had the stolen property in your possession or bought the stolen property or aided in concealing the stolen property.

What are Some Defenses for Receiving Stolen Property in Massachusetts? 

There are many different defenses to Massachusetts Receiving Stolen Property and each case requires a unique defense. However, some common defenses to Receiving Stolen Property are the following:

  • The property was not stolen
  • The property belonged to you
  • You did not know the property was stolen

What are Some of the Laws for Receiving Stolen Property in Massachusetts? 

Receiving Stolen Property comes from Massachusetts General Laws chapter 266 section 60 which states “Whoever buys, receives or aids in the concealment of stolen or embezzled property, knowing it to have been stolen or embezzled, or whoever with intent to defraud buys, receives or aids in the concealment of property, knowing it to have been obtained from a person by false pretense of carrying on a business in the ordinary course of trade or whoever obtains or exerts control over property in the custody of any law enforcement agency, or any individual acting on behalf of a law enforcement agency, which is explicitly represented to such person by any law enforcement officer or any individual acting on behalf of a law enforcement agency as being stolen and who intends to deprive its rightful owner permanently of the use and enjoyment of said property shall be punished.”

A judge must initially determine as a matter of law whether the facts would warrant the jury in inferring that the theft was recent.  Commonwealth v. Kirkpatrick, 26 Mass. App. Ct. 595, 600-601, 530 N.E.2d 362, 366 (1988); United States v. Redd, 438 F.2d 335, 336 (9th Cir. 1971).

Whether or not it was recent then becomes a fact issue for the jury unless the theft was so remote or so recent as to render it a question of law. Commonwealth v. Sandler, 368 Mass. 729, 744, 335 N.E.2d 903, 913 (1975).

The jury may use its common knowledge, and does not require expert evidence, in evaluating value. Commonwealth v. Hosman, 257 Mass. 379, 386 (1926); Commonwealth v. McCann, 16 Mass. App. Ct. 990, 991 (1983). 

Even if the defendant did not know that the property was stolen at the time he (she) received it, the defendant is still guilty of receiving stolen property if he (she) subsequently learned that the property had been stolen, and at that point decided to keep it and to deprive the owner of its use. Sandler, 368 Mass. at 740-741, 335 N.E.2d at 911; Commissioner of Pub. Safety v. Treadway, 368 Mass. 155, 160, 330 N.E.2d 468, 472 (1975); Kirkpatrick, 26 Mass. App. Ct. at 599, 530 N.E.2d at 365.

The jury may draw a permissive inference that the defendant knew the property was stolen from his or her possession of recently stolen property where the facts of the case do not show that the possession was innocent. Such an inference is constitutionally permissible. Barnes v. United States, 412 U.S. 827, 841-847, 93 S.Ct. 2357, 2360-2364 (1973). See Sandler, 368 Mass. at 741-742, 335 N.E.2d at 911.

The knowledge requirement is satisfied if the defendant either knew or believed that the property was stolen, or later discovered that it was stolen and undertook to deprive the owner of its use. Commonwealth v. Dellamano, 393 Mass. 132, 138, 469 N.E.2d 1254, 1257-1258 (1984); Sandler, supra; Treadway, supra; Kirkpatrick, supra.

It is irrelevant whether the defendant intended to derive personal benefit from receiving the goods, Commonwealth v. Bean, 117 Mass. 141, 142 (1875) (receiver doing personal favor for another equally guilty), or thought the actions justified, Commonwealth v. Cabot, 241 Mass. 131, 143-144, 135 N.E. 465, 469 (1922) (knowing use of stolen papers in bar discipline investigation).

If you or a loved one are charged with Receiving Stolen Property and are in need of a Massachusetts Receiving Stolen Property attorney, please contact Massachusetts Criminal Defense Attorneys at Ellison Law LLC today at 401-230-5520.

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