Definition - What does False Pretenses mean?
A defendant is guilty of false pretenses when they make false representations of material facts that the defendant knows are false, with the intent to convince someone to granting title in property to the defendant.
False pretenses differs from other types of theft because it requires the specific transfer of title in property.
False pretenses is a crime under common law.
Justipedia explains False Pretenses
To illustrate the crime of false pretenses, imagine a member of a city council owns a relatively worthless plot of land, but wants her neighbor’s plot of land that is productive cropland. The city council member tells her neighbor that she knows that a corporation has asked for zoning changes to allow a resort to be built next to the city council member’s land that will make her land very valuable. If this information is false, and the city council members uses this false information to trade the title to her worthless land for the title to her neighbor’s cropland, the city council member is guilty of false pretenses.