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lindagray

Fraud

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In law, fraud is deliberate deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain, or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud itself can be a civil wrong (i.e., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation), a criminal wrong (i.e., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, such as obtaining a passport or travel document, driver's license or qualifying for a mortgage by way of false statements.

A hoax is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim.

As a criminal offence
In common law jurisdictions, as a criminal offence, fraud takes many different forms, some general (e.g., theft by false pretense) and some specific to particular categories of victims or misconduct (e.g., bank fraud, insurance fraud, forgery). The elements of fraud as a crime similarly vary. The requisite elements of perhaps the most general form of criminal fraud, theft by false pretense, are the intentional deception of a victim by false representation or pretense with the intent of persuading the victim to part with property and with the victim parting with property in reliance on the representation or pretense and with the perpetrator intending to keep the property from the victim.

Canada
Section 380(1) of the Criminal Code provides the general definition for fraud in Canada:

380. (1) Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service,

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds five thousand dollars; or
(b) is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction, where the value of the subject-matter of the offence does not exceed five thousand dollars.
In addition to the penalties outlined above, the court can also issue a prohibition order under s. 380.2 (preventing a person from "seeking, obtaining or continuing any employment, or becoming or being a volunteer in any capacity, that involves having authority over the real property, money or valuable security of another person"). It can also make a restitution order under s. 380.3.

The Canadian courts have held that the offence consists of two distinct elements:

A prohibited act of deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means. In the absence of deceit or falsehood, the courts will look objectively for a "dishonest act"; and
The deprivation must be caused by the prohibited act, and deprivation must relate to property, money, valuable security, or any service.

United States
Criminal fraud

The proof requirements for criminal fraud charges in the United States are essentially the same as the requirements for other crimes: guilt must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Throughout the United States fraud charges can be misdemeanors or felonies depending on the amount of loss involved. High value frauds can also include additional penalties. For example, in California losses of $500,000 or more will result in an extra two, three, or five years in prison in addition to the regular penalty for the fraud.

The U.S. government's 2006 fraud review concluded that fraud is a significantly under-reported crime, and while various agencies and organizations were attempting to tackle the issue, greater co-operation was needed to achieve a real impact in the public sector. The scale of the problem pointed to the need for a small but high-powered body to bring together the numerous counter-fraud initiatives that existed.

According to Bloomberg, auto loan application fraud rates in the United States has been steadily rising over the past few years. This type of fraud expected to double from about $2–3 billion in 2015 to $4–6 billion in 2017.

United Kingdom

England, Wales, and Northern Ireland
Since 2007, fraud in England and Wales and Northern Ireland has been covered by the Fraud Act 2006. The Act was given Royal Assent on 8 November 2006, and came into effect on 15 January 2007.

The Act gives a statutory definition of the criminal offence of fraud, defining it in three classes—fraud by false representation, fraud by failing to disclose information, and fraud by abuse of position. It provides that a person found guilty of fraud is liable to a fine or imprisonment for up to twelve months on summary conviction (six months in Northern Ireland), or a fine or imprisonment for up to ten years on conviction on indictment. This Act largely replaces the laws relating to obtaining property by deception, obtaining a pecuniary advantage and other offences that were created under the Theft Act 1978.

Scotland
In Scots law, fraud is covered under the common law and a number of statutory offences. The main fraud offences are common law fraud, uttering, embezzlement and statutory frauds. The Fraud Act 2006 does not apply in Scotland.

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