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Receipt of stolen property is a type of crime in the legal code of the United States. It is a federal crime under 18 U.S.C. § 2315 to knowingly receive, conceal, or dispose of stolen property with a value at least $5,000 that is part of interstate commerce (i.e., been transported across state lines).

A person can be found guilty of that offense only if all of the following facts are proved:

  • The person received or concealed or stored or disposed of items of stolen property.
  • The items were moving as, or constituted a part of, interstate commerce.
  • The items had a value in excess of $5,000.
  • The person acted knowingly and willfully.

The government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person either received, concealed, stored, sold or disposed of the stolen property.

To be guilty of the offense, a person must know that the property had been stolen, but he need not know that it was moving as, or constituted a part of, interstate commerce. The term "interstate commerce" merely refers to the movement of property from one U.S. state into another; and it is sufficient if the property has recently moved interstate as a result of a transaction or a series of related transactions that have not been fully completed or consummated at the time of the person's acts as alleged.

All US states also have laws regarding receipt of stolen property; however, there usually is no minimum dollar amount in many jurisdictions, and, of course, the requirement in Federal law regarding interstate commerce does not apply. Also, in many states (Ohio, for example), the burden to prove criminal intent is not as stringent or is nonexistent.[1] This means that one can be charged with the crime - usually a minor degree of felony - even if the person did not know the item in question was stolen. In the Ohio case of State v. Awad, the goods didn't even need to be stolen, just represented as stolen.[2]

Receiving stolen property and possession of stolen property are treated as separate offenses in some jurisdictions. The distinguishing element is when the person knew that the property was stolen. If the person knew that the property was stolen at the time he received it the crime is receiving stolen property. If the person did not know the property was stolen at the time she received it but found out after receiving possession, the crime is possession of stolen property.

The state must prove that the defendant received or possessed the property for a dishonest purpose. If for example the person acquired possession for the purpose of returning the property to its lawful owner no crime has been committed.


In Scotland, this crime is called reset.[3] It includes property that was taken by theft or robbery as well as property taken by breaches of trust including embezzlement, fraud and wilful imposition.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Ohio Revised Code, 2913.51 Receiving stolen property,, retrieved 2009-04-16  
  2. ^ State v. Awad, 164 Ohio App.3d 528 (Court of Appeals, First Appellate District of Ohio 2005).
  3. ^ Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, Section 51, Reset,, retrieved 2009-04-16  
  4. ^ Lying to the police about the location of known stolen goods has been sufficient to get prosecuted for reset, as it aided the criminal in holding onto the goods


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