fraud, in law, willful misrepresentation intended to deprive another of some right. The offense, generally only a tort, may also constitute the crime of false pretenses. Frauds are either actual or constructive. An actual fraud requires that the act be motivated by the desire to deceive another to his harm, while a constructive fraud is a presumption of overreaching conduct that arises when a profit is made from a relation of trust (see fiduciary). The courts have found it undesirable to make a rigid definition of the type of misrepresentation that amounts to actual fraud and have preferred to consider individually the factors in each case. The misrepresentation may be a positive lie, a failure to disclose information, or even a statement made in reckless disregard of possible inaccuracy. Actual fraud can never be the result of accident or negligence, because of the requirement that the act be intended to deceive. The question of commission may depend upon the competence and commercial knowledge of the alleged victim. Thus dealings with a minor, a lunatic, a feeble-minded person, a drunkard, or (in former times) a married woman are scrutinized more closely than dealings with an experienced businessman. A lawsuit based upon actual or constructive fraud must specify the fraudulent act, the plaintiff's reliance on it, and the loss suffered. The remedy granted to the plaintiff in most cases is either compensatory (and possibly punitive) damages for the injury or cancellation of the contract or other agreement and the restoration of the parties to their former status. In a few states of the United States both damages and cancellation are available. In certain suits based upon a contract, fraud may be introduced as a defense.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Fraud: Selected full-text books and articles

The Psychology of Fraud
Duffield, Grace; Grabosky, Peter.
Australian Institute of Criminology, 2001
Red Flags of Fraud
Grabosky, Peter; Duffield, Grace.
Australian Institute of Criminology, 2001
On Fact and Fraud: Cautionary Tales from the Front Lines of Science
David Goodstein.
Princeton University Press, 2010
The Ponzi Scheme Puzzle: A History and Analysis of Con Artists and Victims
Tamar Frankel.
Oxford University Press, 2012
Hoax: Hitler's Diaries, Lincoln's Assassins, and Other Famous Frauds
Edward Steers Jr.
University Press of Kentucky, 2013
Fraud and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis
Tomson H. Nguyen.
LFB Scholarly, 2011
White Collar Crime in Housing: Mortgage Fraud in the United States
Cynthia Koller.
LFB Scholarly, 2012
Academic Fraud Today: Its Social Causes and Institutional Responses
Epstein, Richard A.
Stanford Law & Policy Review, Vol. 21, No. 1, Winter 2010
Fraud and Abuse in Nonprofit Organizations: A Guide to Prevention and Detection
Gerard M. Zack.
Wiley, 2003
Is Fraud a Problem in Governmental Entities?
Graves, Sharron M.; Marsh, Treba Lilley; Lozano, Miguel, III.
Academy of Accounting and Financial Studies Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1, January 1, 2004
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud
Robert L. Park.
Oxford University Press, 2000
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