Fraud is a broad term for several white-collar crimes. In South Carolina and elsewhere, it refers to any type of illegal scheme perpetrated for one’s own gain. It’s important to understand what fraud entails.
What is fraud?
As a white-collar crime, fraud involves the use of false statements, misrepresentations or deception to knowingly and deliberately deprive a victim of something. Sometimes, it’s conducted for financial gain, but it can be used for other purposes as well. For example, a person who lies about his or her criminal background to get a certain job is considered to have committed fraud in the process.
What are the elements of fraud?
There are specific elements that must be in place in order for a person to be guilty of fraud. The first is that there is a misrepresentation of a material fact. A false statement itself isn’t enough to warrant a fraud crime, which brings forth the second element: knowing that the statement is, in fact, false.
When a person committing fraud knows that the statement he or she made is false, it carries the intent to deceive a victim or victims.
The next element is that a victim relied on the false statement. Once the victim suffered harm or some type of loss after relying on that misrepresentation of a material fact or false statement, it’s the final element of a fraud crime.
What are examples of fraud?
Fraud can be carried out in a number of ways. Tax fraud occurs when a person deliberately lies about his or her income to gain a higher tax return. Mail fraud is committed when a person abuses the postal service for his or her own gain.
Healthcare or insurance fraud is another example. It usually happens when a medical professional exaggerates or lies about services and falsely bills insurance for something that was never provided.
Fraud is a crime that costs individuals and the government substantial amounts of money each year.