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Fraud (or defrauding or scamming) is a crime in which someone tricks somebody else to get unfair or unlawful gain. Frauds are almost always about money, either directly or indirectly.

A fraudster or a fraud is the person who commits the fraud. Fraudulent is the adjective, as in He tried to pass a fraudulent cheque. To defraud someone is to commit a fraud against them.

Fraud is a criminal wrong: a fraudster may be prosecuted and imprisoned. It is also a civil wrong: a fraud victim may sue the fraudster to get compensation.

All societies have laws against fraud, but the details differ in each jusisdiction. In England an Act of Parliament defines three kinds of fraud.

  1. fraud by false representation,
  2. fraud by failing to disclose information, and
  3. fraud by abuse of position.

Lesser cases are heard in a Magistrates' Court; more serious offences are tried in the High Court (jury proceedings).

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