As a criminal defense attorney in North Charleston, South Carolina, I have handled cases involving the filing of false police reports. In this article, I will explain several of the reasons people file a false police report and the penalty for filing a false police report in South Carolina.

What Are Reasons Why People File False Police Reports in South Carolina? 

False police reports in South Carolina are overwhelmingly related to property crimes.
The reasons for filing false property crimes to: 

  • Create a tax deduction. Property losses above a predetermined threshold are deductible on federal and some state income taxes. A variation on this theme is to report a legitimate theft, and then add items that have been sold, given away, or were never owned in an attempt to boost the loss value.
  • Defraud an insurance company. Filing a false property crime with the insurance company the value of the “stolen” items. Adding items will increase the value of the claim.
  • Explain the loss or theft of an item. For example, your employer gave you a laptop to use for work. You leave the laptop in your hotel room, and when you come back it’s gone. You report it stolen to cover your negligence. Another option, deciding that the computer would make a nice gift. You report a theft, and keep the computer for yourself.
  • Conceal embezzlement. A retail cashier might take money from the register, then file a report of a “till tap,” where a customer reaches into the cash drawer and steals money. Due to video surveillance systems, till tapping is much less frequent than it used to be.

What are the Consequences of Filing a False Police Report in South Carolina?

According to South Carolina Law, Section 16-17-722:

(A)    It is unlawful for a person, including a law enforcement officer, to knowingly file a false police report.

(B)    A person who violates subsection (A) by falsely reporting a felony, or a law enforcement officer who files a false police report alleging a felony, is guilty of a felony and upon conviction must be imprisoned for not more than five years or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both.

(C)    A person who violates subsection (A) by falsely reporting a misdemeanor, or a law enforcement officer who files a false police report alleging a misdemeanor, is guilty of a misdemeanor and must be imprisoned not more than thirty days or fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both.

(D)    In imposing a sentence under this section, the judge may require the offender to pay restitution to the investigating agency to offset costs incurred in investigating the false police report.”

Should you be convicted of filing a false police report, the sentence could be jail time, a fine or both. Additionally, civil charges may also be filed. Filing a false police report damages more than your victim. You will have a police record, which damages your reputation and may hinder a job search.

If you have been charged with the crime of filing a police report, it is vital for you to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer by your side. Contact the Deaton Law Firm for the right representation.