Fraud is considered a white-collar crime and it can be alleged in a variety of different contexts. Individuals may be charged with fraud-based crimes in their places of employment, in the organizations where they volunteer, or even in the ways they interact with their financial institutions, insurers, and other entities. When fraud is alleged, it is important that individuals seek legal help to meet their serious criminal charges.
Like violent crimes, white collar crimes like fraud can carry with them serious consequences. Jail time, fines, and other sanctions can plague the lives of those unfortunate enough to be convicted of fraud. For these reasons, criminal defense attorneys are excellent sources of information and representation for individuals facing allegations of fraud. The information on fraud contained herein is an introduction to fraud, but readers are reminded that they should not rely on this post as legal advice.
Fact #1: Fraud requires an intent to harm others
Fraud is a criminal matter, and for it to be a crime it must meet certain elements of proof. For example, a person cannot accidentally commit a fraud on an alleged victim. If a person inadvertently gives another person bad information and the other relies on it to their detriment, a fraud likely was not committed. That is because the sharer of the information did not knowingly or intentionally share the bad information to cause the other to sustain losses. Fraud requires an actor to knowing misrepresent facts to cause harm to others.
Fact #2: Fraud requires a victim to suffer losses
Just as an alleged perpetrator of fraud must mean to share bad information, their alleged victim must also suffer losses for a fraud to happen. Fraud is not conceptual: there must be a victim and a loss for it to occur. If a person receives intentionally misrepresented data but does not act on it to their detriment, they cannot claim they were the victim of fraud.
Fact #3: Fraud is not a single crime
Fraud is a big term. It is not defined by a single type of action, or a single context in which it may occur. It can happen through telecommunications or in person, in investing or bankruptcy, between private parties or individuals and the government. When fraud is alleged, a person should not rely on what happened in other cases to guess what will happen in theirs. They can turn to their attorneys for guidance in preparing for their individual trials.