Conversion under Tort Law
The layman’s definition for conversion is basically considered theft; according to our text “whenever a person wrongfully possesses or uses the personal property of another without permission” is considered conversion…..”deprives an owner of personal property or of the use of that property without that owner’s permission”. On March 28 of this year, my car was stolen from my employer’s parking lot and was recovered eight days later by the local police. There was surveillance video of the subject entering and driving away in my car, due to the distance a positive ID was unable to be made. Without the video, the act (Actus Reus) of conversion (theft) could have been arguable, being there was no burden of proof. In order for an individual to be charged, there is an information (a form) that is required to be filled out; in my case a police report by a Peace Officer, in order to make a claim that a specific type of theft has occurred. Within the report, certain facts (or beliefs) would be contained supporting that it occurred with specificity and particularity. Here in Illinois, detailed descriptions of vehicle theft laws are found in the Ilinois Vehicle Code, and not the Criminal Code, under 625 ILCS 5/4-103 through 103.3. In most cases auto thefts are considered Class 2 felonies, punishable by up to seven years imprisonment. There are many different types of conversion, not all of them involving tangible personal property or may not be considered theft at all. An example of conversion using intangible personal property could be the use of computer software, domain names, stocks, and bonds, to name just a few. Another consideration could be the unknowing purchase of stolen items, where the original subject that committed the theft is for all intensive purposes absolved of any wrongdoing by default,...
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