State v. Pendergraft, 368 N.C. 314 (Sept. 25, 2015)

(per curiam). Because the participating Justices were equally divided, the decision below, State v. Pendergraft, 238 N.C. App. 516 (Dec. 31, 2014), was left undisturbed and without precedential value. In the decision below the court of appeals had held, over a dissent, that an indictment alleging obtaining property by false pretenses was not fatally defective. After the defendant filed false documents purporting to give him a property interest in a home, he was found to be occupying the premises and arrested. The court of appeals rejected the defendant’s argument that the indictment was deficient because it failed to allege that he made a false representation. The indictment alleged that the false pretense consisted of the following: “The defendant moved into the house … with the intent to fraudulently convert the property to his own, when in fact the defendant knew that his actions to convert the property to his own were fraudulent.” Acknowledging that the indictment did not explicitly charge the defendant with having made any particular false representation, the court of appeals found that it “sufficiently apprise[d] the defendant about the nature of the false representation that he allegedly made,” namely that he falsely represented that he owned the property as part of an attempt to fraudulently obtain ownership or possession of it. The court of appeals also rejected the defendant’s argument that the indictment was defective in that it failed to allege the existence of a causal connection between any false representation by him and the attempt to obtain property, finding the charging language sufficient to imply causation.