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NY Penal Law § 185.15: Fraudulent Disposition of Property Subject to a Conditional Sale Contract

July 5, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

In the criminal code, the term “conditional sale contract” refers to a sale in which the buyer takes possession of and the right to utilize the property, but title stays with the seller until the performance of a specified condition is met by the buyer. Customarily, the condition is the buyer’s payment of the total purchase price. If the buyer should get rid of the property before the condition is satisfied, that buyer would have committed a fraud crime.  You could be charged under New York Penal Law § 185.15 with the crime of fraudulent disposition of property subject to a conditional sale contract if you are a buyer who has taken part in a conditional sale contract and, prior to the performance of the condition, you sell, mortgage, destroy or otherwise dispose of the property in question subject to the conditional sale contract under claim of full ownership.  Under this statute, the buyer must have acted with intent thereby to defraud another.

For Example

Gareth is an avid art collector and dealer. He found an exquisite sculpture that he just had to own. Unfortunately, he was experiencing a short term cash flow problem. Travis, was the owner of the sculpture.  Gareth explained that he would not have the $10,000 to pay for the piece for another 6 weeks.  Nevertheless, Travis agreed to sell it to Gareth under a conditional sale contract. Travis contracted to allow Gareth to take the sculpture to display it in his home. However, Travis was clear that he would retain ownership of the sculpture until Gareth had finished paying for it full. A few weeks later, Gareth hosted a dinner party, at which he unveiled the new sculpture. One of the guests at the party liked it so much that he made an offer to Gareth of $20,000 to take it home right away. Elated, Gareth said yes and sold it immediately. In this scenario, Gareth could be charged with fraudulent disposition of property subject to a conditional sale contract, because Gareth did not yet pay Travis in full for the sculpture.

Offenses that are Related

Fraud in Insolvency: New York Penal Law § 185.00

Fraud involving a security interest: New York Penal Law § 185.05

Fraudulent disposition of mortgaged property: New York Penal Law § 185.10


Fraudulent disposition of property subject to a conditional sale contract is categorized as a class A misdemeanor. If you get convicted of this offense, you might be sent to jail for as much as one year. You could also be sentenced to a probation term of up to 3 years and be required to pay a fine.



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