29 Jun 20

NY Penal Law § 165.30: Fraudulent Accosting

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Last Updated on: 5th August 2023, 01:32 am

The criminal offense of fraudulent accosting entails stopping someone in their path in a public place in order to somehow trick or defraud that individual. A usual example of this is standing near the entrance to a theater or stadium and stopping a person in order to sell them counterfeit tickets to a movie, show or event. Another common example is the “three-card monte” con that involves two  people working in tandem to cheat the mark. It is illegal under New York Penal Law § 165.30 to accost another individual in public with the intent to defraud that individual of property by trick, swindle or a confidence game. The property that is targeted in such situations is usually money, but it can be any type of property according to the statute.


Two Examples

  1. In the case of the People v. Watts, 2012 NY Slip Op 50957, (N.Y. Crim. Ct., 2012), defendant Rodney Watts was charged with the crime of fraudulent accosting based on the fact that he offered to sell counterfeit tickets to a show. In a public area inside of a hotel, Mr. Watts offered to sell four tickets to the Book of Mormon performance for $800. Watts provided the 4 ticket numbers that he had. The show manager of the Book of Mormon confirmed that the ticket numbers that were provided by Watts were not genuine ticket numbers.
  2. In the case of the People v. Abbott, 107 A.D.3d 1152 (2013), the defendant, Ms. Roselyn Abbott spotted the vehicle of an 89 year old woman in the parking lot of a grocery store. While the woman was in the store, Ms. Abbott poured some coffee under the woman’s car. When the woman returned to her car, Abbott explained to her that it appeared as if her car needed to be repaired. With the assistance of her accomplices, Abbott was successful in getting the victim to pay for over $1000 in phony repairs to her car. When the victim realized that no repairs were actually ever made on her vehicle, she contacted the police. Ms. Abbott was charged with the crime of fraudulent accosting.


Offenses that are Related

Grand larceny in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 155.30

Petit larceny: New York Penal Law § 155.25


Possible Defenses

The fraudulent accosting statute requires that you have actually accosted the victim of the crime. The term “accosting” is defined in the penal code as approaching or confronting another individual. You might have a valid defense against a charge of fraudulent accosting if you did not approach the victim, but instead the victim first approached you. If indeed you did defraud the victim, you may face another criminal charge for that crime. Nevertheless, if you did not accost the victim, the charge you would get would likely not be fraudulent accosting.


The Sentence

Since fraudulent accosting is a Class A misdemeanor, if you are convicted, you could be sent to county jail to serve as much as one year.  On top of that, you may be ordered to pay a fine. It is also possible that the judge may just sentence you to a probation term of 3 years.