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What is the difference between criminal fraud and civil fraud?

Posted by Bulldog Law | May 26, 2024 | 0 Comments

A party commits fraud when they intentionally deceive another to gain a certain benefit illegally or unethically or deny victims a particular right. Fraud involves several legal elements, including hiding or misrepresenting material truths, sometimes resulting in the victim suffering because of said misrepresentation. There are two primary categories of fraud: criminal and civil.

Criminal fraud

Considered a “white collar crime,” criminal fraud is when the offender deceives the victim to secure financial gain or a similar advantage. Examples of criminal fraud include racketeering, tax evasion, identity theft and mortgage fraud.

In criminal fraud cases, local, state or federal prosecutors should be able to prove intent to deceive and gain something from the misrepresentation. A party the court finds guilty may face imprisonment or probation, as well as fines and needing to make restitution to the victim.

Civil fraud

Just like criminal fraud, civil fraud claims involve fraudulent misrepresentation or persuasion. The main difference is that in civil fraud, it is often the plaintiffs themselves pursuing the case. Plaintiffs generally need to prove that damage occurred from relying on the deceptive information.

If civil fraud is proven in court, remedies might include fines and damages. But if the court finds that plaintiffs did not rely on the misrepresented information or suffered no damage or injury because of it, the case may not result in any relief.

Dealing with either a criminal or civil case can be challenging. Discussing your options with an attorney can help you navigate the complexities of dealing with such cases.

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