Protecting Your Rights When Facing Serious Federal Criminal Charges
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How is fraudulent intent proven?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2020 | Firm News |

Many people in Pittsboro may think that proving fraud is relatively easy. If you stand accused of it, then the result of your alleged actions will of course prove whether they were indeed fraudulent. Yet as is the case with many federal criminal matters, things are not that simple (otherwise any transaction that resulted in your partner suffering a financial loss might qualify as fraud).

Rather, an element of intent must be present in order to prove fraud. Absent it, then it may be hard to argue that your actions were not done in good faith.

Focus on intent, not outcomes

Returning to the example of poor outcomes to business transactions, a loss or injury to a partner is actually not a requirement in order to prove fraud. Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the outcome of an allegedly fraudulent scheme is ultimately not the determining factor when proving fraud. Rather, intent may be inferred from statements and conduct. If it is deemed that your conduct shows criminal intent, then that may be sufficient to show that you committed fraud.

Making it more difficult to prove fraud

While this may seemingly make it easier for authorities to support any fraud charges filed against you, the opposite might actually be true. In the absence of actual financial harm being suffered by your partners in a transaction, it must be shown that not only did you contemplate causing such harm to said partner, but that the contemplation is proven by deceit. In this context, deceit is shown through a “reckless indifference” to the truths or falsehoods of your representations. Your representations might be open to interpretation, making any opinions on them subjective ones. Subjective opinion is often not enough when alleging fraud.