Fraud is a crime that compromises the money or data of individuals and businesses. An accusation of committing fraud may have severe repercussions for you and your company. Conversely, if you are a victim of fraud, the theft of your money or services can cause devastating consequences.
Both alleged perpetrators and victims of fraud have options to safeguard against financial ruin.
What is fraud?
The State of Georgia defines fraud as “Misrepresentation of a material fact, made willfully to deceive or recklessly without knowledge and acted on by the opposite party or made innocently and mistakenly and acted on by the opposite party … ”
Fraudulent offenses may include:
- Business record falsification
- Dishonest representation of a product
- Stealing money from clients or business associates
- Misrepresenting a situation’s accurate status
Is fraud a criminal or civil offense?
Fraud may be a violation of both criminal and civil laws. Local or federal government prosecutors handle criminal charges, and a guilty verdict can result in fines and imprisonment. In civil fraud, a victim of fraud may file a civil lawsuit against the offending person or company to recover financial damages.
An alleged fraudulent party may have legitimate defenses to protect a business from criminal consequences. A victim of fraud may receive compensation for suffering the serious effects of a deceptive business transaction. Whether you are an alleged perpetrator or a victim of fraud, understanding the facts about the consequences of fraud may enable you to protect yourself and your business from irreparable harm.