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False Pretences

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FALSE PRETENCES. False representa tions and statements, made with a fraudulent design to obtain "money, goods, wares, and merchandise," with intent to cheat. 2 Bou vier, Inst. n. 2308.

A representation of some fact or circum stance calculated to mislead, which is not true. Com. v. Drew, 19 Pick. (Mass.) 184..

Such a fraudulent representation of fact by one who knows it not to be true as is adapted to induce the person to whom it is made to part with something of value. It may relate to quality, quantity, the nature or other incident of the article offered for sale, whereby the purchaser buying it, is de frauded; Jackson v. People, 126 III. 139, 18 N. E. 286.

They must relate to the past or present ; Biddle v. U. S., 156 Fed. 764, 84 C. C. A. 415 ; People v. Miller, 169 N. Y. 339, 62 N. E. 418, 88 Am. St. Rep. 546; Cook v. State, 71 Neb. 243, 98 N. W. 810. Any representation or as surance in relation to a future transaction may be a promise, or covenant, or warranty, but cannot amount to a statutory false pre tence ; Com. v. Drew, 19 Pick. (Mass.) 185; 3 Term 98; but one will be guilty if there are false representations of a past or exist ing fact, although a promise be also a part of the inducement to the person defrauded to part with his property ; Pearce v. State, 115 Ala. 115, 22 South. 502 ; State v. Gordon, 56 Kan. 64, 42 Pac. 346; Taylor v. Com., 94 Ky. 281, 22 S. W. 217; Thomas v. People, 34 N. Y. 351; Holton v. State, 109 Ga. 127, 34 S. E. 358 ; State v. Fooks, 65 Ia. 196, 452, 21 N. W. 561, 773. It must be such as to impose upon a person of ordinary strength of mind ; State v. Simpson, 10 N. C. 620 ; Com. v. Wil gus, 4 Pick. (Mass.) 178; People v. Haynes, 11 Wend. (N. Y.) 557. But, although it may be difficult to restrain false pretences to such as an ordinarily prudent man may avoid, yet it is not every absurd or irrational pretence which will be sufficient. See Cowen v. Peo

ple, 14 III. 348 ; State v. Mills, 17 Me. 211; Russ. & R. 127. Where the statements were absurd or irrational, the offence is not made out ; State v. Cameron, 117 Mo. 641, 23 S. W. 767; State v. Jackson, 128 Ia. 543, 105 N. W. 51; Com. v. Beckett, 119 Ky. 817, 84 S. W. 758, 27 Ky. L. Rep. 265, 68 L. R. A. 638, 115 Am. St. Rep. 285 ; State v. Stewart, 9 N. D. 409, 83 N. W. 869 ; unless the defrauded per son was weak and ignorant ; People v. Bird, 126 Mich. 631, 86 N. W. 127; State v. South all, 77 Minn. 296, 79 N. W. 1007; People v. Cole, 137 N. Y. 530, 33 N. E. 336; Bowen v. State, 9 Baxt. (Tenn.) 45, 40 Am. Rep. 71. It is not necessary that all the pretences should be false, if one of them, per se, is sufficient to constitute the offence; People v. Haynes, 14 Wend, (N. Y.) 547, 28 Am. Dec. 530. And although other circumstances may have in duced the credit, or the delivery of the prop erty, yet it will be sufficient if the false pre tences had such an influence that without them 'the credit would not have been given or the property delivered ; People v. Haynes, 11 Wend. (N. Y.) 557 ; People v. Haynes, 14 Wend. (N. Y.) 547, 28 Am. Dec. 530. The false pretences must have been used before the contract was completed ; People v. Gates, 13 Wend. (N. Y.) 311. Extra-judicial admis sions and statements of the defendant alone as to the falsity of the statement are not sufficient to warrant a conviction, as the fal sity is in the nature of a corpus delicti which requires other proof ; People v. Simonsen, 107 Cal. 345, 40 Pac. 440.

If the person defrauded was deceived by false statements, it is no defence that he might have ascertained by investigation that they were false ; State v. Keyes, 196 Mo. 136,