Internet fencing is the practice of offloading stolen goods on the Internet. This may take place through websites like Craigslist and eBay or other online sites where sellers and buyers connect. Buyers are often unaware that they items they are purchasing are actually stolen goods.
There are serious legal consequences for those accused of being involved with an Internet fencing scheme. Whether you are accused of online fraud or of crimes involving stolen property, a New York Internet fencing lawyer at Raiser & Kenniff, PC will provide you with the legal representation you need to build a solid defense. Our team understands how important it is to develop a strategy in order to reduce the chance of a conviction or reduce penalties. Contact as soon as possible so that we may begin to assist you in responding to criminal charges.
What is Internet Fencing?
The term “fencing” refers to the sale of stolen items. Unfortunately, the Internet has made it extremely easy for individuals who illegally acquire items to sell those goods and turn them into cash. There are a number of types of Internet fencing happening today, including:
– Classified websites like Craigslist and auction sites like eBay provide an opportunity for sellers to list jewelry, electronics and other high-value items for sale. In this type of Internet fencing, buyers are generally unaware that they may be purchasing stolen goods.
– Forum websites provide an opportunity for organizations or individuals with stolen items to connect to organized agencies, enterprises or individuals that specialize in offloading stolen goods. There are discussions with tips and advice on selling stolen goods on websites accessible to the public as well as those found on the darknet.
Regardless of the extent of your involvement in an Internet fencing scam, there is a risk of facing criminal charges. Both selling and buying stolen items is illegal, even if you were not the one who physically stole the goods.
Internet Fencing Penalties
The specific penalties associated with reselling stolen goods vary depending on the aggregate value of the items taken. NY Penal Code Article 155 imposes penalties for the theft of goods, or larceny. There is a criminal offense of petit larceny, also known as petty theft, in addition to four degrees of grand larceny. Once the value of the stolen goods exceeds $1,000, the offense turns into a felony.
The criminal offense of possessing stolen goods is addressed in NY Penal Code Article 160. In order for a defendant to be convicted, he or she must know that the goods are stolen and must possess them with the intent to benefit a non-owner or himself. Even if someone did not participate in the theft in any way, he or she may be charged under this statute if he or she helps another by using the Internet to offload stolen items.
In addition, a buyer who knows that he or she is purchasing a stolen item may also be charged with criminal possession of stolen items. Under NY law, there are five degrees of criminal possession, and like larceny, the offense becomes a felony as soon as a minimum of $1,000 in goods is involved.
Although state penalties are severe, if you are involved in Internet fencing, you may also face federal criminal charges. According to 18 U.S. Code Section 2315, it is a federal offense to sell, barter, possess, receive or dispose of stolen property with an aggregative value of at least $5,000 if the property crosses state lines. When an item is fenced online and is moved across states, federal prosecutors may charge you with the crime, which carries penalties of up to 10 years incarceration. Charges may also vary depending on how the seller attempts to offload the stolen property.
If You Have Been Accused of Internet Fencing, You Need a New York Criminal Defense Lawyer
If you or someone you love is facing Internet fencing charges, a New York criminal defense lawyer at Raiser & Kenniff, PC can help. We have provided legal representation of clients accused of online crimes such as Internet fencing, and we are more than happy to discuss your legal options with you. Call us today to get answers to your questions and to schedule a consultation with a member of our legal team.