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criminal law. False representations andstatements, madewith a fraudulent design, to obtain " money, goods, wares, andmerchandise-" with intent to cheat. 2 Bouv. Inst. n. 2308.
2. This subject may be considered under the following heads:. 1. Thenature. of the false pretence. 2. What must be obtained. 3. The intent.
3. - 1. When the false pretence is such as to impose upon a person ofordinary caution, it will doubtless be sufficient. 11 Wend. R. 557. Butalthough it may be difficult to restrain false pretences to such as anordinarily prudent man may avoid, yet it is not every absurd or irrationalpretence which will be sufficient. 2 East, P. C. 828. It is not necessarythat all the pretences should be false, if one of them, per se, issufficient to constitute the offence. 14 Wend. 547. And although othercircumstances may have induced the credit, or the delivery of the property,yet it will be sufficient if the false pretences had such an influencethat, without them, the credit would not have been given, or the propertydelivered. 11 Wend. R. 557, 14 Wend. R. 547, 13 Wend. Rep. 87. The falsepretences must have been used before the contract was completed. 14 Wend.Rep. 546, 13 Wend. Rep. 311. In North Carolina, the cheat must be effectedby means of some token or contrivance adapted to impose on an ordinarymind. 3 Hawks, R. 620, 4 Pick. R. 178.
4. - 2. The wording of the statutes of the several states on this subjectis not the same, as to the acts which are indictable. In Pennsylvania, thewords of the act are, "every person who, with intent to cheat or defraudanother, shall designedly, by color of any false token or writing, or byany false pretence whatever, obtain from any person any money, personalproperty or other valuable, things," &c. In Massachusetts, the intent mustbe to obtain "money, goods, wares, merchandise, or other things." Stat. of1815, c. 136. In New York, the words are "money, goods, or chattels, orother effects." Under this statute it has been holden that obtaining asignature to a note, 13 Wend. R. 87, or an endorsement on a promissorynote, 9 Wend. Rep. 190, fell within the spirit of the statute, and thatwhere credit was obtained by false pretence, it was also within thestatute. 12 John. R. 292.
5. - 3. There must be an intent to cheat or defraud same person. Russ. &Ry. 317, 1 Stark. Rep. 396. This may be inferred from a falserepresentation. 13 Wend. R. 87. The intent is all that is requisite, it isnot necessary that the party defrauded should sustain any loss. 11 Wend. R.18, 1 Carr. & Marsh. 516, 537.
Source: Bouviers Law Dictionary 1856 Edition