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What is fraud?

Region: Ontario Answer # 1500

What is fraud?

Fraud is generally defined as any form of dishonest or deceptive behavior that is intended to result in financial or personal gain for the fraudster, and does harm to the victim.

Fraud itself can be:

  • a civil wrong, for which a fraud victim may sue the fraudster for recovery of the loss,
  • a criminal wrong, for which the perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities, or
  • the deceptive acts may cause no loss of money, property or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong.

The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, such as obtaining a passport or travel document, driver’s license or qualifying for a mortgage by way of false statements.

Civil cases

Civil fraud cases involve the intentional misrepresentation or concealment of an important fact upon which the victim is meant to rely, and in fact does rely, to the harm of the victim. Proving fraud in a court of law is challenging.

Every element of fraud must be proven, such as the state of mind of both the perpetrator and the victim. In civil court, the most common remedies sought for fraud include rescission (i.e. reversal) of a fraudulently obtained agreement or transaction, a monetary award to compensate for the harm caused, and if possible, punitive damages to punish or deter the fraudster from future wrongdoing.

Criminal cases

Examples of criminal fraud include general offences, such as theft by false pretense, or those that are specific to particular categories of victims or misconduct, such as insurance fraud, forgery and bank fraud. The disposition ordered by a criminal court in a fraud conviction can include several forms of punishment, including: fines, imprisonment, probation, penalties and restitution.

Common types of fraud

While there are countless types of fraud that can be perpetrated, the following are some of the more common ones:

  • Investment fraud
  • Romance fraud
  • Immigration fraud
  • Corporate fraud
  • Spiritualist and Psychic fraud
  • Construction fraud
  • Employee fraud
  • Consumer fraud
  • Insurance fraud
  • Employment Insurance fraud
  • Securities fraud
  • Power of Attorney fraud
  • Retail fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Mortgage and Real Estate fraud

If you discover you are a victim of fraud, it is a good idea to contact a fraud recovery expert for advice.

Get help

If you a have a criminal record due to fraud-related charges (or for any other criminal offence), and wish to erase your record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

If you have been charged with fraud or believe you are victim of fraud, it is important to get legal advice as soon as possible. To get help, ask a lawyer now.

Pardon Partners – Fraud ONPardon Partners – Fraud ON


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