State v. Buchanan, ___ N.C. App. ___, 801 S.E.2d 366 (Jun. 6, 2017)

(1) The evidence was sufficient to sustain a conviction for obtaining property by false pretenses. After the defendant falsely reported that his girlfriend had written 3 checks on his account without authorization, he received a provisional credit on his bank account with respect to one of the checks. He asserted, in part, that the provisional credit did not constitute a “thing of value.” The court disagreed, concluding that the provisional credit was the equivalent of money placed into his account, to which the defendant had access, at least temporarily. (2) The trial court did not commit plain by failing to instruct the jury that the defendant could not be convicted of obtaining property by false pretenses and of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses based on a single transaction. The defendant attempted to obtain $900 from his bank by making a false representation in an affidavit that 3 unauthorized checks were written on his account. He obtained $600 of the $900 he had attempted to obtain; this amount was attributable to one of the checks. He was charged and convicted of both obtaining property by false pretenses and of an attempted version of the crime with respect to the money he did not obtain. Construing the statute, the court concluded: “the General Assembly did not intend to subject a defendant to multiple counts of obtaining property by false pretenses where he obtains multiple items in a single transaction. Rather, the statute provides for an increase in punishment if the value of the property taken exceeds $100,000.” Here, the defendant attempted to collect the value of three checks in a single transaction but was successful only in obtaining credit for one of the checks. Notwithstanding this, the court concluded that the trial court did not err in its jury instructions. The court reasoned that the error was a double jeopardy issue and because the defendant failed to object at trial, the issue was waived on appeal.