A fraud is a false representation of a matter of fact which is intended to deceive another.
To prove fraud in court, a victim must prove each of the "five fingers of fraud":
- a person made a material false statement
- he knew the statement was false
- he intended to deceive the victim
- the victim justifiably relied on the false statement
- the victim was damaged
In Medieval thought including Dante's Divine Comedy, fraud was a broad term used to describe any sin that involved the use of human intellect, including: seduction, flattery, simony, sorcery, political corruption (or barratry), hypocrisy, theft, evil counsel, sundering, forgery and deceit. These sins were known as 'minor fraud'; 'major fraud' was another name for treachery, which was considered to be the worst sin of all.