Fraud is the intentional deception of a person or business for monetary or personal gain. Fraudulent acts include trickery, deceit, intentional misrepresentation, concealment, and nondisclosure for the purpose of inducing another to part with something of value.
Fraud is sometimes confused with theft. However, theft generally involves taking something through force or by stealth, whereas fraud involves a purposeful misrepresentation of fact.
Fraud can be pursued as both a criminal and civil action, depending on who is pursuing legal action in the case. The same fraudulent act can be prosecuted by the government as a crime and also pursued as a civil action by the injured party. The only real difference between the two suits is that actual damages must be proven in the civil case.
A successful fraud case must prove the following legal elements:
- Misrepresentation of a material fact
- The misrepresentation was known to be false or made recklessly without knowledge of its truth
- The misrepresentation was made purposefully, with the intent of inducing the victim to act on the misrepresentation
- The victim justifiably believed the misrepresentation and relied upon it
- The victim suffered damages as a result of the misrepresentation
The remedies for fraud may include:
- Rescission of a fraudulently obtained contract or transaction
- Monetary damages to compensate for the actual harm caused
- Punitive damages to punish or deter the misconduct
An allegation of fraud can also serve as a defense to a civil action for breach of contract or specific performance of contract.
If you or your business have been the victim of a fraudulent act, it is essential that you hire an experienced fraud attorney to ensure that those responsible are held liable and you receive the compensation you deserve. Please call DBJ at 1-800-875-5972 for a free consultation.