From LawGuru Wiki
In the broadest sense, a fraud is a deception made for personal gain. The specific legal definition varies by legal jurisdiction. Fraud is a crime, and is also a civil law violation. Many hoaxes are fraudulent, although those not made for personal gain are not technically frauds. Defrauding people of money is presumably the most common type of fraud, but there have also been many fraudulent "discoveries" in art, archaeology, and science.
In criminal law, fraud is the crime or offense of deliberately deceiving another in order to damage them – usually, to obtain property or services unjustly.  Fraud can be accomplished through the aid of forged objects. In the criminal law of common law jurisdictions it may be called "theft by deception," "larceny by trick," "larceny by fraud and deception" or something similar.
Marriage Fraud can take several forms and is the act of entering a marriage for personal gain rather than a genuine desire to enter into a sincere marital relationship. Marriage Fraud is usually associated with obtaining immigration benefits. In the United States, marriage fraud for immigration purposes is punishable under INA §204(c)(1) and the Immigration Marriage Fraud Amendments of 1986. Possible criminal penalties include $250,000 and 5 years in prison as well as deportation and a permanent bar against receiving future immigration status. Marriage Fraud can be either unilateral or bilateral Unity and Immigration Policy in the United States. In a unilateral marriage fraud, only one party is aware of the fraud and the fraud is against both the immigration service as well as the other party. The innocent party may file a lawsuit and/or annulment of the marriage. In a bilateral fraud, both parties are aware of it and both parties are subject to criminal penalties.
In academia and science, fraud can refer to academic fraud – the falsifying of research findings which is a form of scientific misconduct – and in common use intellectual fraud signifies falsification of a position taken or implied by an author or speaker, within a book, controversy or debate, or an idea deceptively presented to hide known logical weaknesses. Journalistic fraud implies a similar notion, the falsification of journalistic findings.
Acts which may constitute criminal fraud include:
- Marriage Fraud to obtain immigration benefits INA §204(c)(1),
- bait and switch
- confidence tricks such as the 419 fraud, Spanish Prisoner, and the shell game
- false advertising
- identity theft
- false billing
- forgery of documents or signatures
- taking money which is under your control, but not yours (embezzlement)
- health fraud, selling of products of spurious use, such as quack medicines
- creation of false companies or "long firms"
- false insurance claims
- bankruptcy fraud, is a US federal crime that can lead to criminal prosecution under the charge of theft of the goods or services
- investment frauds, such as Ponzi schemes
- securities frauds such as pump and dump
Fraud, in addition to being a criminal act, is also a type of civil law violation known as a tort. A tort is a civil wrong for which the law provides a remedy. A civil fraud typically involves the act of intentionally making a false representation of a material fact, with the intent to deceive, which is reasonably relied upon by another person to that person's detriment. A "false representation" can take many forms, such as:
- A false statement of fact, known to be false at the time it was made;
- A statement of fact with no reasonable basis to make that statement;
- A promise of future performance made with an intent, at the time the promise was made, not to perform as promised;
- A statement of opinion based on a false statement of fact;
- A statement of opinion that the maker knows to be false; or
- An expression of opinion that is false, made by one claiming or implying to have special knowledge of the subject matter of the opinion. "Special knowledge" in this case means knowledge or information superior to that possessed by the other party, and to which the other party did not have equal access.
In the UK a report concluded that the total costs of fraud and dealing with fraud in the year 2005-2006 was at least 13.9 Billion GBP.
 Notable fraudsters
- Frank Abagnale Jr., US impostor who wrote bad checks and falsely represented himself as a qualified member of professions such as airline pilot, doctor, and attorney. The film Catch Me If You Can is based on his life.
- Ramón Báez Figueroa, banker from the Dominican Republic and former president of Banco Intercontinental. Sentenced on October 21, 2007 to ten years in prison for a US$2.2 billion fraud case that drove the Caribbean nation into an economic crisis in 2003.
- Cassie Chadwick, who pretended to be Andrew Carnegie's daughter to get loans.
- Charles Dawson, an amateur British archeologist who claimed to find the Piltdown man.
- Richard Eaton, an English businessman who was business partners with mobster Paul Vario and Jimmy Burke and was involved in the Lufthansa heist.
- Martin Frankel is a former U.S. financier, convicted in 2002 of insurance fraud worth $208 million, racketeering and money laundering.
- Konrad Kujau, German fraudster and forger responsible for the "Hitler Diaries".
- Kenneth Lay, the American businessman who built energy company Enron. He was one of the highest paid CEOs in America until he was ousted as Chairman and was convicted of fraud and conspiracy, although as a result of his death, his conviction was vacated.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>
- Nick Leeson, English trader whose unsupervised speculative trading caused the collapse of Barings Bank.
- James Paul Lewis, Jr., ran one of the biggest ($311 million) and longest running Ponzi Schemes (20 years) in US history.
- Gregor MacGregor, Scottish conman who tried to attract investment and settlers for the non-existent country of Poyais.
- Colleen McCabe, British headmistress who stole £½ million from her school.
- Gaston Means, a professional conman during U.S. President Warren G. Harding's administration.
- Michael Milken, "The Junk Bond King".
- Barry Minkow and the ZZZZ Best scam.
- Lou Pearlman, former boy-band manager indicted by a federal grand jury in Orlando on charges that he schemed to bilk banks out of more than $100 million.
- Frederick Emerson Peters, US impersonator who wrote bad checks.
- Charles Ponzi and the Ponzi scheme.
- Alves Reis, who forged documents to print 100,000,000 PTE in official escudo banknotes (adjusted for inflation, it would be worth about US$150 million today).
- Christopher Rocancourt, a Rockefeller impersonator who defrauded Hollywood celebrities.
- John Spano, a struggling businessman who faked massive success in an attempt to buy out the New York Islanders of the NHL.
- John Stonehouse, the last Postmaster-General of the UK and MP who faked his death.
- Richard Whitney, who stole from the New York Stock Exchange Gratuity Fund in the 1930s.