What is the Crime of Fraud in the US?

Learn about what constitutes as Fraud in US & how it affects victims financially & emotionally with this expert guide.

What is the Crime of Fraud in the US?

A deliberate plan to obtain financial or similar gains through the use of false statements, misrepresentation, concealment of important information, or misleading conduct is known as fraud. Fraud is a criminal offence, but the person who allegedly committed fraud can also be brought before civil court. A government prosecutor files charges in criminal court, while a fraud victim would file a civil lawsuit against the alleged fraudster to recover the money. Sometimes, criminal and civil actions are brought against a person accused of fraudulent activity.

Committing any type of fraud can result in some significant criminal penalties. Depending on the state in which you live and the crime you are accused of, fraud can be a felony or a misdemeanor. Some fraud crimes carry increasing penalties depending on the losses suffered by the victim, while other fraud crimes impose severe penalties based solely on the fraudulent plan or fraud. For example, a person convicted of federal mail fraud faces up to 20 years in prison.

Business email engagement (BEC) is one of the most financially damaging online crimes, taking advantage of the fact that many of us rely on email to do business, both personal and professional. According to the law, fraud is intentional deception to obtain unfair or illegal profits, or to deprive the victim of a legal right. It is often said that proving fraud in a court of law is difficult, since the intention to defraud is the key element in question. As such, proving fraud carries a greater burden of proof than other civil lawsuits. This difficulty is compounded by the fact that some jurisdictions require the victim to demonstrate the fraud through clear and convincing evidence. Fraud remedies may include termination (that is, rescission or cancellation of a contract), restitution (the return of money or property to its rightful owner), damages (compensation for losses suffered by the victim), and injunctive relief (an order from a court prohibiting certain activities).

In common law jurisdictions, as a civil offense, fraud is a tort. While the precise definitions and evidentiary requirements vary from one jurisdiction to another, the elements that are required for tort fraud are generally the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of an important fact on which the victim must rely, and in fact is based, on the victim's detriment. In common law jurisdictions, as a criminal offence, fraud takes many different forms, some of a general nature (for example, theft with false pretense). The elements of fraud as a crime vary in a similar way. The necessary elements of perhaps the most general form of criminal fraud are intentional deception of a victim by false representation or pretext with the intention of persuading them to detach themselves from the property and that the victim separate themselves from the property based on representation or pretext, and with the intention of the perpetrator to hide the property from the victim. To establish a civil lawsuit for fraud, most jurisdictions in the United States require that each element of a fraud claim be adduced in a specific manner and demonstrated by the preponderance of evidence, which means that fraud is more likely to have occurred.

Some jurisdictions impose a higher standard of evidence, such as Washington State's requirement that elements of fraud be demonstrated by clear, convincing, and convincing evidence (highly probable evidence), or Pennsylvania's requirement that common law fraud be demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence. Special damages can be awarded if it is demonstrated that they were caused immediately by the defendant's fraud and if the amount of damages is specifically demonstrated. The Office of Serious Fraud is a branch of the United Kingdom Government that reports to the Attorney General. Cifas is a British fraud prevention service, a non-profit membership organization for all sectors that allows organizations to share fraud data and access them using their databases. Cifas is dedicated to preventing all types of fraud including internal fraud by staff and identifying financial and related crimes.

Document falsification (also known as forgery) and identity theft are types of fraud related to physical duplication or manufacturing. The theft of a person's personal information or identity such as finding out another person's social security number and then using it as identification is also considered a type of fraud. Fraud can be committed through many means including mail, electronic transfer, telephone and internet (cybercrime and internet fraud). The detection of fraudulent activities on a large scale is possible by collecting enormous amounts of financial data together with predictive analysis or forensic analysis -the use of electronic data to reconstruct or detect financial fraud. Fraud occurs when someone or an organization intentionally misleads another with promises of goods, services or financial benefits that don't exist; were never intended to be provided; or were misrepresented. Victims usually give money but never get what they paid for.

Millions of people in America are victims of fraud crimes every year. As a victim of federal fraud crime you can suffer financial and emotional harm and even medical problems related to your victimization. Beyond laws that aim to prevent fraud there are also governmental and non-governmental organizations that aim to combat it. Many schemes involve stealing social security numbers; credit card information; computer passwords; bank PINs; and other sensitive information that can be used for identity theft. Electronic fraud occurs when someone uses telephone; electronic communication device; or computer with internet access to commit an act of fraud. The Act establishes legal definition for crime of Fraud, defining it in three classes: Fraud through false representation; Fraud due to lack of disclosure; and Fraud due to abuse of trust.

Millions of people in America are victims of Fraud crimes every year. As a victim you can suffer financial and emotional harm and even medical problems related to your victimization.