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The definition of fraud

It is clear that financial crimes carry with them serious penalties. Fraud, in its simplest term, is defined as an offense that use dishonest or deception to gain a monetary or personal gain against someone else. While in many cases there is a paper trail and documentation highlighting the fraudulent tactics used, sometimes it could be a verbal agreement or an intentional betrayal of an agreement.

There are two general varieties of fraud, which include criminal fraud and civil fraud. Criminal fraud also requires criminal intent, while civil fraud is generally used when referring to situations where an interaction or transaction was done in bad faith.

There are many types of fraud. Since the popularity of online transactions and ease at which they are done, Internet fraud and identity theft are common. Tax fraud or tax evasion, bankruptcy fraud, mail fraud, credit and debit card fraud and securities fraud are common varieties as well. It is not uncommon for the older generations to fall victim to telemarketing and wire fraud as well.

There are several ways to prove fraud. Typically, it must be proven that there was an intentional misrepresentation of a material fact. The perpetrator must also know that this action was done with false intentions. It must also be proven that the person relies on the misrepresentation and lastly that there was a loss or injury directly related to this situation.

In most cases, fraud is considered a felony, often resulting in stiff fines and possibly substantial time in prison if convicted. In civil cases, the guilty party likely will have to pay restitution and fines as well. White collar crimes such as fraud should not be taken lightly. They are often still criminal acts and could lead to long-term or life-long ramifications. Thus, it is important to become fully aware of your criminal defense options.

Source: Findlaw.com "Fraud," Accessed July 17, 2017

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