Mesa Theft and Fraud Defense Attorney


Theft and fraud are some of the most common criminal cases in Mesa, Arizona, but there’s nothing commonplace about them. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of a class 2 felony, which could mean a significant prison sentence and life-altering consequences.

If you’re facing charges for theft or fraud in Mesa, Arizona, the criminal defense team at Jackson White Law is here to assist you. Our seasoned criminal defense attorneys bring decades of experience to the table, which we’ll leverage to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Since its inception, the criminal defense team at Jackson White has secured thousands of positive outcomes for our clients, including dismissed and reduced charges. To see how we can help you next, call our office today at (480) 467-4370 or tell us about your case for a free consultation.

Theft and Fraud Charges in Mesa, Arizona

The terms theft and fraud are often used interchangeably, but they’re separate matters when it comes to criminal charges in Arizona. Following is a brief overview of what qualifies for theft and fraud charges in Arizona and what penalties you can expect.

Theft Charges

According to ARS 13-1802, an individual may be charged with theft for knowingly taking the following actions without lawful authority:

  1. Controlling another person’s property with the intent to deprive them of such property
  2. Controlling property or using services beyond the terms of a limited, authorized use agreement (e.g. refusing to return your friend’s car after borrowing it for the weekend)
  3. Obtaining services or property by material misrepresentation with the intent to deprive the other person of such property or service
  4. Coming into control of lost, mislaid, or misdelivered property, and failing to exercise reasonable efforts to notify the true owner
  5. Controlling property that you know, or have reason to know, is stolen
  6. Obtaining services for compensation without paying or agreeing to pay
  7. Diverting another’s services to your own or another’s benefit without the authority to do so
  8. Controlling another person’s ferrous or nonferrous metals with the intent to deprive the owner
  9. Controlling ferrous or nonferrous metals that you know, or have reason to know, are stolen
  10. Purchasing ferrous or nonferrous metals within the scope of ordinary business when you know the metal is stolen
  11. Taking control, title, use, or management of a vulnerable adult’s property while acting in a position of trust and confidence with the intent to deprive the owner of their property

Note that there are two critical features with each of these scenarios: to be considered theft, you must knowingly take control of the property or service without the proper authority. That means accidentally walking out of the store with an item that you didn’t pay for is not theft, nor is possessing stolen property as long as you honestly didn’t know or suspect that it’s stolen.

Furthermore, there are scenarios where having proper authority may prevent theft charges. For example, taking your father’s car out for a drive isn’t theft as long as you have permission from your father and a valid driver’s license.

Penalties for Theft in Arizona

In Arizona, the penalty for theft ranges from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 2 felony. The charge will depend on the value of the stolen property, and is based on the following table:

Criminal Charge Value of Stolen Property/Services
Class 1 misdemeanor Less than $1,000
Class 6 felony $1,000 to $2,000
Class 5 felony $2,000 to $3,000
Class 4 felony $3,000 to $4,000
Class 3 felony $4,000 to $25,000
Class 2 felony $25,000 or more

There are two notable exceptions where monetary value doesn’t matter. First, when the stolen item is a vehicle engine or transmission, it’s always a class 4 felony. Second, when the stolen item is a firearm or an animal taken for the purpose of animal fighting, the minimum penalty is a class 6 felony.


The basic definition of fraud is pretty simple. When you obtain anything by knowingly lying or misrepresenting facts, you’ve committed fraud.

Criminal fraud takes place every day, whether it involves misreporting income for government benefits, lying about your legal immigration status on an employment application, using a falsified check to pay for goods from a local business, or misrepresenting your identity to steal someone’s identity. Some of the most common types of fraud cases that you’ll see in Arizona criminal courts include:

  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Check fraud
  • Healthcare fraud
  • Immigration fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Mail and wire fraud
  • Medicare and Social Security fraud
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Securities fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • Telemarketing scams

Under Section 13 of the Arizona Revised Statutes, the state of Arizona describes criminal fraud as, “any person who, pursuant to a scheme or artifice to defraud, knowingly obtains any benefit by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, promises or material omissions (ARS 13-2310).”

Penalties for Fraud in Arizona

Unlike the tiered system you’ll see with theft charges in Arizona, fraud charges are always considered a class 2 felony. Furthermore, when the case involves opioids or the value of defrauded benefits exceeds $100,000, the defendant is not eligible for suspension of sentence, probation, pardon or early release.

Theft and Fraud Criminal Defense Attorney in Mesa

Whether you’re facing charges of theft, fraud, or both, working with an experienced criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure a favorable outcome. The criminal defense team at Jackson White will assess your case to determine the best way forward, which could involve proving your innocence in court, convincing the prosecutor to drop the charges against you, or negotiating a deal that ensures minimal sentencing.

Free Theft and Fraud Case Reviews in Mesa

If you’re facing criminal charges for theft or fraud in Mesa, we invite you to schedule a free, confidential case review with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys.

During your case review, our seasoned attorneys will listen to your concerns, ask questions to understand the specifics of your case, and explain how the legal process will work in the course of defending your case. We’ll explain the laws and penalties that your case is subject to, discuss potential paths forward, and provide recommendations for your defense.

Mesa Location

At our Mesa office, we handle all types of criminal defense offenses, including domestic violence, theft crimes, violent crimes and more. Visit our practice areas page to learn more.

Address: 40 N. Center St, Mesa, AZ 85201

Phone number: (480) 467-4370

Free Criminal Case Review

Call (480) 467-4370  or fill out the form below to get your free consultation and discuss your best legal options.