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Elements of Fraud

  • Misrepresentation of a material fact

  • Knowledge of the defendant

  • Committed purposefully

  • Victim believed the scheme

  • Victim suffered as a result

Criminal Fraud Offenses

Credit Card Fraud

Withdrawals or purchases using someone else's credit or debit card without their permission.

Check Fraud

Paying with a check knowing that there is not enough money in the account or forging a check stolen from someone else.

Identity Fraud

Robbing someone of their identity by stealing their personal identity. This could include credit cards, bank accounts, credit rating, and more.

Charities Fraud

Creating a charity that is not real to profit the money.

Insurance Fraud

Filing a false or inflated insurance claim for an automotive, health care, renters, or homeowners policy to get a larger return.

Bankruptcy Fraud

Knowingly making false claims or leaving out information while filing for bankruptcy.

Tax Fraud (Tax Evasion)

Not reporting an amount of income to avoid being taxed on the money.

Mail or Wire Fraud

Using the postal service or wired communication that crosses state lines to commit fraud.

Email Fraud (Phishing)

Using fake emails to get someone's private information (bank information, social security number, etc).

Securities Fraud

Selling a stock or security for more than it is worth or with insider information. For example, selling a stock while the price is still artificially high, only for it to fall the next day.


Counterfeiting is making an identical but fake item to replace the real item to fool people. Common forms of counterfeited items are money, luxury brand items, medications, software, and more.

What is the difference between fraud and theft?

Theft involves taking something through force or without the owner knowing. Fraud is a misrepresentation of something that the defendant is aware of and did purposely to get something in return.

What is the difference between civil and criminal fraud?

Criminal fraud is brought forward by local state or federal prosecutors who must prove that the person being accused intended to commit fraud.

In a civil case, the victim brings the case to court. The victim needs to be able to prove that the person being accused materially misrepresented the fact and that they knew that the fact was false. They also need to show that they suffered damage as a result of the scheme.

Fraud Penalties


Up to 10 years in jail for a state-level offense. Could be more for a crime at the federal level.


Probation is a common penalty for first-time offenders or fraud that did not result in a huge loss for the victim.


Fines range on average from $1,000-$10,000 but can be much larger depending on the specific crime.


Restitution means that the person convicted must pay back the amount taken from the victim in full. The judge will usually provide the defendant with a set time they have to pay back the full amount.

Find out more about fraud and other white collar crimes here