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What is fraud?

Fraud, in its most general definition, refers to an act of dishonesty or deceit in an effort to achieve a personal or monetary gain. Typically, it is done to gain something of value, such as property or money. With the ease and accessibility of today's technology, and more and more financial transactions taking place online, it is becoming increasingly common in Los Angeles to see fraud carried out in the digital world.

Types of fraud include but are not limited to bankruptcy fraud, tax fraud or tax evasion, identity theft, insurance fraud, credit card fraud, securities fraud, mail fraud and telemarketing fraud. Fraud could affect either an individual or a business or other entity. Victims of fraud are wide ranging, and could involve anyone from a a child to the elderly, the poor to the wealthy and everyone in between.

In order for fraud to have taken place, several elements need to be proved. First, there must be a misrepresentation of fact. Second, a person must know that the information is false. Third, a victim must be relying on this falsified information. Lastly, there must be a loss as a result of this transaction.

If you are involved in a civil litigation suit such as fraud, it is important to take the allegations seriously. The laws vary by state, but fraud could be on both a criminal or civil record. If there was criminal intent by the accused, it is considered a criminal act. But if bad faith was involved, financial penalties could be placed on the perpetrator to recoup the lost money or property from the act of fraud. Penalties may vary greatly, and are dependent upon the nature, scope, type and severity of the crime.

Source: FindLaw "Fraud," accessed on July 24, 2017

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