Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain, although it has a more specific legal meaning, the exact details varying between jurisdictions. Many hoaxes are fraudulent, although those not made for personal gain are not best described in this way. Not all frauds are hoaxes - electoral fraud, for example. Fraud permeates many areas of life, including art, archaelogogy and science. In the broad legal sense a fraud is any crime or civil wrong for gain that utilises some deception practiced on the victim as its principal method.
In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them -- usually, to obtain property or services from him unjustly.. Fraud can be accomplished through the aid of forged objects. In criminal law it is called "theft by deception." Fraud can be committed through many methods, including mail, wire, phone, and the Internet.
Acts which may constitute criminal fraud include:
- bait and switch
- confidence tricks such as the 419 fraud, Spanish Prisoner, and the shell game
- false advertising
- identity theft
- false billing
- forgery of documents or signatures
- taking money which is under your control, but not yours (embezzlement)
- health fraud, selling of products of spurious use, such as quack medicines
- creation of false companies or "long firms"
- false insurance claims
- pious frauds
- securities frauds such as pump and dump
Fraud, in addition to being a criminal act, is also a type of civil law violation known as a tort. A tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. A civil fraud typically involves the act of making a false representation of a fact susceptible of actual knowledge which is relied upon by another person, to that person's detriment.
Each of the criminal offences have a further common element of dishonesty, although in some there is no requirement that the dishonest person is intent on gaining himself, it is sufficient that he has an intent to cause to loss to another.
The criminal offences of fraud are to be found, principally, in the Theft Act 1968, the Theft Act 1978 and the Theft (Amendment) Act 1996 which created the new offence of Obtaining a Money Transfer by Deception. More specific offences may be found in other statutes such as Impersonation of a Police Officer as defined in Sec. 90 of the Police Act 1996; or Using a Forged Instrument within the terms of the Forgery & Counterfeiting Act 1981 (previously an offence known under the somewhat prosaic term of "Uttering").
Criminal offences of fraud at English Law:
- Obtaining Property by Deception
- Obtaining Services by Deception
- Obtaining a Pecuniary Advantage by Deception
- False Accounting
- False Statements by Company Directors
- Suppression of Documents
- Retaining a Wrongful Credit
Known and alleged fraudsters and various forms of fraud
- Alves Reis, a Portugese who forged documents to print official escudo banknotes. He is considered to be the biggest counterfeiter of the 20th century. In 1925 he counterfeited 100.000.000 PTE, inflation adjusted it would be worth about 150 Million USD today.
- Frank Abagnale, US impostor who wrote bad checks
- Ivan Boesky, inside trader in the 1980s
- Cassie Chadwick, who pretended to be Andrew Carnegie's daughter to get loans
- Anthony Di Angelis, "the Salad Oil King"
- John Draper, also known as Captain Crunch, was a phone phreaker (not really a fraudster but he famously known as a fraudster by phone company in early and late 1970's)
- William Duer, accused of embezzlement of $238,000 from US Treasury Department in the 1790s
- Megan Ireland, Australian con artist and Lottery scammer
- Ivar Kreuger “The Match King”
- Dennis Levine
- Gregor MacGregor, Scottish conman who tried to attract investment and settlers for a non-existent country of Poyais
- Robert Maxwell, UK newspaper tycoon who milked his companies dry
- Gaston Means
- Michael Milken, "The Junk Bond King"
- Barry Minkow and the ZZZZ Best
- Frederick Emerson Peters, US impersonator who wrote bad checks
- Charles Ponzi, namesake of Ponzi scheme
- Christopher Rocancourt who defrauded Hollywood celebrities
- Serge Rubinstein , Russian-born diamond swindler
- Richard Whitney , stole from Stock Exchange Gratuity Fund in 1930s
- Robert Vesco, US fugitive financier
- Accounting scandals
- Benford's law
- Caper stories (such as The Sting)
- Corporate abuse
- Creative accounting
- Credit card fraud
- False Claims Law
- Internet fraud
- Mail fraud
- Phone fraud
- Political corruption
- Ponzi scheme
- Questioned document examination
- The National Council Against Health Fraud
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