Fraud Lawyers Cape Town
Fraud Lawyers specializing in fraud cases in South Africa
We are fraud lawyers in Cape Town. We specialize in doing fraud cases in the greater Cape Town, we can assist anytime. Call 072 604 5324 All hours for our expert assistance with your fraud case.
Are you in need for legal assistance with a fraud charge? Are you being accused of fraud? Have you been accused of fraudulent misrepresentation? Have you been arrested for fraud? We can assist you in with your fraud case. We can obtain bail for yourself, a family member or friend on your fraud case. We also deal with trials on charges of fraud and give expert legal advice on fraud cases.
Kindly call us at the abovementioned emergency number and we will get right on it.
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Discussion on a charge of fraud
In this fraud article we are going to answer some of the most frequently asked questions our clients have in respect of how the crime of fraud works. We will explain the fraud charge, the sentences applicable to fraud. We will explain what evidence is required to justify a conviction on a charge of fraud. We will bring some clarity to demystify some of the aspects involved in fraud.
What is Fraud
In simple terms fraud can be said to be some form of misrepresentation by one person that leads to prejudice or potential prejudice for the other person acting on that misrepresentation.
There is much more to this type of crime than what I have stated above, but we trying to keep things simple for now.
Fraud the legal definition
The full legal definition of the crime of fraud is:
Fraud is the unlawful and intentional making of a misrepresentation which causes actual prejudice or which is potentially prejudicial to another
The legal elements of the crime fraud:
The elements of the crime of fraud are the following:
- a misrepresentation;
- prejudice or potential prejudice;
- unlawfulness and
How did the crime of fraud came about
In brief the crime of fraud originated from the common law. It is an amalgamation of a private law delict and a crime of falsification.
Fraud in its essence comes down to the deliberate falsification or distortion of a truth that leads to the prejudice or potential prejudice of another.
Lets Explain the crime of fraud some more
Legal Definition: The element of Misrepresentation
The crime of fraud always start with a misrepresentation of some sort. A misrepresentation is the deliberate distortion or falsification of the truth. Without the required misrepresentation, we are not dealing with fraud but most likely with something like theft. If the property was taken without permission it is theft and not fraud. In fraud there is always permission that was obtained through some form of misrepresentation. The affected party almost always hands over the property or benefit willingly because he was hood-winked into doing so by the misrepresentation.
It can be said that the misrepresentation is a manner to manufacture consent. It is a way to enable the wrong doer to obtain the property or benefit he is trying to obtain with consent.
The form of the misrepresentation
The misrepresentation can take really any form. It mostly takes the form of the written or spoken word.
Misrepresentations can take any of the following forms, but this list is not exclusive:
- It can be something that was said verbally.
- It can be in the form of document, which in fraud it often is.
- It can be in the form of electronic communication.
- It can be implied through conduct.
Misrepresentation required prior to acquisition of property or benefit
It is important to note that one cannot commit the act of misrepresentation retrospectively. The misrepresentation is required to enable the fraud to take place. A complainant cannot hand the property or benefit over and then be misled after the fact. The act of misleading must take place to enable the transaction to take place.
Clearly put, the misrepresentation must be the enabler for the fraudulent transaction. The misrepresentation must be the reason the complainant engages in the transaction. Without this, this the causal link to the misrepresentation and the prejudice is broken. The misrepresentation must be the reason for the prejudice.
What is prejudice or potential prejudice
Prejudice must be real in our law to be punishable. Our law does not punish people for telling lies. The lie only become punishable if the telling thereof leads to harm or potential harm for another.
The harm could be real harm that was suffered or potential harm that would have really been suffered if the affected party acted on the misrepresentation.
Legal Definition: The element of Intention
The misrepresentation must be intentional. The perpetrator must be aware that the fact he is presenting at the time is false. The perpetrator must be aware of the misrepresentations falseness.
Its held that even acting recklessly or carelessly on whether something is true or not will constitute enough to establish intention on the part of the perpetrator.
A distinction must be drawn between the intention to deceive and the intention to defraud. Deception is the intention to distort the truth and hold something up as the truth where indeed it is false.
The intention to defraud is to persuade someone to embark on a course of action prejudicial to himself as a result of the misrepresentation. It is this form of intention that is required to prove fraud.
Again it is important to note that the mere telling of lies is not a crime. The telling of the lie has to have behind it the intention to persuade someone to take a prejudicial course of action.
If a lie is told, but the teller never thought or had the intention that the listener was going to act on it, it can not be said to be fraud. This in other words is not punishable in our law. Punishing someone for this would elevate intention into the form of negligence. One can not negligently defraud someone, it has to be intentional.
Legal Definition: The element of Unlawfulness
The act of the misrepresentation must be unlawful. The perpetrator must atthe time of the offence of fraud also be well aware of the fact that his conduct is unlawful and that it is punishable by our courts.
The knowledge of this unlawfulness must be present at the time of the offence and not only afterwards. The perpetrator must thus be aware of his act being unlawful but despite this he still proceeding with his actions and misrepresentation of the truth.
How long do you stay in jail for fraud in south Africa
There is no hard and fast rules when it comes to what sentence an accused person can receive in a fraud case, after having been convicted. There is plenty of factors that determine how the sentence will be individualized by the courts to come to a just and fair punishment for the crime committed under those sets of unique circumstances.
Often clients ask the question how long will I have to go to jail if I am convicted for fraud. Although there are certain guidelines, sentences for fraud vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the crime, the personal circumstances of the accused and other factors like the presiding officer or Judge. The skill of your fraud lawyer and what he brings to the table must also not be underestimated. This could make the world of difference.