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A false pretense, under the statute, must relate to a past event or existing fact. Any representation with regard to a future transaction is excluded. Thus, for instance, a false statement, that a draft which has been received from a house of good credit abroad, and is for a valuable consideration, on the faith of which he obtains the prosecutor's goods, is within the law; a promise to deposit with him such a draft at some future time, though willfully and intentionally false, and the means of prosecutor's parting possession with his property, is not.
Appellant and his wife were charged with the crime of obtaining money by false pretenses. It was alleged that appellant and his wife feloniously misrepresented that they were engaged in a wine and liquor business in order to advance certain money from one Violette McMullen. It was further alleged that the appellant and his wife would purchase certain liquor stamps with the money and would return any money so advanced. Appellant and his wife were convicted. On appeal, appellant challenged the decision.
Would the “present intention” of the defendants not to return the money and not to buy the stamps as they said they would support a conviction for the crime of false pretenses?
The court held that a pretense that the party would do an act that he did not mean to do was not a “false pretense” within the meaning of Statute of Geo. II. According to the court, a statement of an intention is not a statement of an existing fact. Accordingly, appellant could not be criminally prosecuted for his failure to pay money or use it as specified at the time of borrowing.