Can Selling Swipes Be Considered as Larceny in New York ?

In People v. Hightower, 18 NY3d 249, 961 N.E.2d 1111, 938 N.Y.S.2d 500 (2011) the Court of Appeals considered whether a person who sold a "swipe" allowing entrance to the New York City subway from a lawfully purchased unlimited ride Metrocard which allowed unlimited subway access for a designated period could constitute larceny.

The Court held it could not.

That was true even though:

(i) the defendant was not authorized to sell the swipe and indeed committed a different crime by doing so, and (ii) it could be inferred that the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) was deprived of the subway fare by virtue of the defendant's criminal conduct.

The Court reasoned that no larceny occurred because the NYCTA "never acquired a sufficient interest in the money to become an owner'" under the larceny statutes. (18 NY3d at 255.)