Fraud: Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain
1 a: deceit, trickery; specifically : intentional perversion of truth in order to induce another to part with something of value or to surrender a legal right : was accused of credit card fraud
b: an act of deceiving or misrepresenting : trick : automobile insurance frauds
2 a: a person who is not what he or she pretends to be : impostor : He claimed to be a licensed psychologist, but he turned out to be a fraud; also : one who defrauds : cheat
b: one that is not what it seems or is represented to be : The UFO picture was proved to be a fraud.
Fraud is a common crime that occurs in a wide variety of areas. So-called “con artists” seek to gain the confidence of their intended victims. In point of fact, the term “con” is a contraction of the word “confidence,” wherein the criminal tricks their victims into trusting him so they can be taken advantage of.
Most “white collar crime” involves fraud.
Think of how many victims, for example, were defrauded out of their life savings by the infamous Bernie Madoff, who conned his victims into trusting him.
Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme is similar to a “Ponzi Scheme” — named for Charles Ponzi, who in the 1920s, used the monies paid to the initial investor-victims by those who came on board subsequently. Ultimately such schemes fail but enable the perpetrator to pocket huge sums of money before the collapse.
Insurance fraud generally involves individuals filing false claims to bilk the insurance company out of money.
Welfare fraud involves individuals concealing assets and sources of income to be eligible to receive assistance that they would not be entitled to if all of the material facts were known by the authorities who administer the welfare program.
Not unlike other forms of fraud, immigration fraud is a serious crime committed by aliens, and those who may conspire with them, to enable aliens to game the immigration system to circumvent the immigration laws in order gain entry into the United States and/or gain lawful status or other immigration benefits to which they are not lawfully entitled.
Examples of these benefits include being granted political asylum, lawful immigrant status, or even U.S. citizenship via the naturalization process.
The nexus between immigration fraud, terrorism, and national security is of considerable concern, and, in point of fact, when aliens engage in immigration fraud to facilitate terrorism, they generally face a maximum of 25 years in federal prison.
There are generally two forms of fraud that concern law enforcement: document fraud and immigration fraud schemes.
Fraudulent documents involve the production of counterfeit or altered documents such as birth certificates, passports, Social Security cards, driver’s licenses, or other such identity documents, or supporting documentation such as diplomas or marriage licenses. Immigration fraud schemes involve such deceptions as marriage fraud and false statements in immigration applications.
There are several federal statutes that establish the elements of crimes involving immigration fraud. Title 18 U.S. Code § 1546 — Fraud and misuse of visas, permits, and other documents are key sections of federal law that address such fraud.