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Criminal charges

receiving stolen property

A person commits the criminal offense of receiving stolen property if the person buys or receives any property knowing that it has been stolen. Laws regarding receiving stolen property vary from state to state and some states also make it a crime to receive property obtained by extortion, or to conceal, sell, withhold, or aid in concealing, selling, or withholding any property from the owner, knowing the property was stolen or obtained by extortion, for example.

The criminal offense of receiving stolen property may be charged as a misdemeanor or as a felony in many states (a wobbler offense)—usually depending on the value of the stolen property.

Laws regarding receiving stolen property are generally located in a state’s statutes—often in the penal or criminal code.

In Texas, the offense of receiving stolen property is covered under the Texas Penal Code, specifically in the section dealing with theft. A person commits this offense if they intentionally or knowingly receive, possess, conceal, or dispose of stolen property while being aware that it was stolen or believing it was probably stolen. The seriousness of the charge, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, typically depends on the value of the property received. For property valued at less than $2,500, the offense may be charged as a misdemeanor. If the value is $2,500 or more, the offense can be charged as a felony. The exact classification and penalties are further detailed in the Texas Penal Code, which provides a graduated scale based on the value of the property. Additionally, Texas law also addresses the receipt of property that was acquired by other means of illegal activity, such as extortion.


Texas Statutes & Rules

Federal Statutes & Rules

18 U.S.C. § 2315 - Sale or receipt of stolen goods, securities, moneys, or fraudulent State tax stamps
This federal statute is relevant as it addresses the criminal offense of receiving stolen property at the federal level, which is applicable when the stolen property involves interstate or foreign commerce.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 2315, it is a federal crime for any person to receive, possess, conceal, store, barter, sell, or dispose of any goods, wares, or merchandise, securities, or money of the value of $5,000 or more, or any articles to be used in counterfeiting, knowing the same to have been stolen, unlawfully converted, or taken. The statute also covers the receipt of fraudulent State tax stamps. The offense becomes a federal matter when it affects interstate or foreign commerce. Penalties for violating this statute can include fines and imprisonment, with the severity of the punishment often depending on the value of the stolen property and the criminal history of the offender.

18 U.S.C. § 2314 - Transportation of stolen goods, securities, moneys, fraudulent State tax stamps, or articles used in counterfeiting
This statute is relevant as it criminalizes the transportation of stolen property, which can be related to the offense of receiving stolen property, especially when the property has crossed state lines.

18 U.S.C. § 2314 makes it illegal to transport, transmit, or transfer in interstate or foreign commerce any goods, wares, merchandise, securities or money, of the value of $5,000 or more, knowing the same to have been stolen, converted or taken by fraud. This statute is often used in conjunction with § 2315 when stolen property is moved across state lines before being received. The law also applies to the transportation of counterfeit items or fraudulent State tax stamps. Violations can result in significant fines and imprisonment, and the statute serves as a tool to combat the broader scope of criminal activity associated with the theft and distribution of stolen property.

18 U.S.C. § 2313 - Sale or receipt of stolen vehicles
This statute specifically addresses the receipt of stolen vehicles, which is a common type of property involved in theft and receiving stolen property offenses.

According to 18 U.S.C. § 2313, it is illegal for any person to receive, possess, conceal, sell, dispose, or transport any motor vehicle or aircraft, knowing it to have been stolen. The statute applies when the vehicle or aircraft has crossed a state or United States boundary after being stolen. The law imposes penalties for those found guilty, which can include fines and imprisonment. This statute is particularly relevant for cases involving the receipt of stolen vehicles, which is a significant issue due to the high value and mobility of such property.

18 U.S.C. § 666 - Theft or bribery concerning programs receiving Federal funds
This statute is relevant for cases where the stolen property is associated with federal funds or programs, which may include scenarios where an individual receives property knowing it was obtained through theft or bribery from a federally funded program.

Under 18 U.S.C. § 666, it is a federal crime to embezzle, steal, obtain by fraud, or otherwise without authority knowingly convert to the use of any person other than the rightful owner or intentionally misapply, property that is valued at $5,000 or more, and is part of a federal program involving grants, contracts, subsidies, loans, guarantees, insurance, or other forms of federal assistance. This statute also covers the receipt of such property with knowledge of its source. The law aims to protect the integrity of federal assistance programs and ensure that funds are used for their intended purposes. Violations can lead to severe penalties, including fines and imprisonment.

What is a Bona Fide Purchaser (BFP) in Legal Terms?
The legal concept of a bona fide purchaser (BFP) often arises when stolen property is sold to a third party who pays fair market value (or doesn't) for the property.