Business Law – Fraud, a General Overview


What is fraud in the legal sense?

In the legal terms, fraud is defined as the purposeful falsification of information, the perversion of the truth, and the false representation of facts. In the state of Florida, an individual commits fraud when they conceal important information which should not have been hidden, when they knowingly lie, or when they act dishonestly for the purpose of self-benefit.

What are some ways fraud is established and what are some of the different forms of fraud?

In the state of Florida, to find an individual guilty of fraud, the prosecution must establish that the individual’s actions include the following: Knowledge that statements made were false, a false statement of material fact, an injury to another individual as a result of the fraud, confidence by the victim on the statement that the person made; and the intention of the individual being charged to harm the victim for self-benefit.

There are many different forms of fraud recognized in the State of Florida. The first is tax fraud, which occurs when an individual is dishonest about income, credits, or in filing taxes so as to deceive the government. Another type of fraud is public assistance fraud. An individual may be found guilty of public assistance fraud if they obtained public assistance due to deception, such as the falsification of identity or income. Corporate fraud occurs when schemes are devised on a large scale to deceive investors, employees, lenders, communities, and even the financial market. A final form of fraud is federal fraud.

Federal fraud occurs when an individual commits what is known as an “interstate fraud.” an interstate fraud can include anything from wire transfers to mail fraud. An individual can be guilty of federal fraud if they claim knowledge that they do not in fact possess. The punishments for fraud, in the State of Florida, can vary depending on the damages caused, but they can be both jail sentences and large monetary fines.v