Act or course of deception, an intentional concealment, omission, or perversion of truth, to (1) gain unlawful or unfair advantage, (2) induce another to part with some valuable item or surrender a legal right, or (3) inflict injury in some manner. Willful fraud is a criminal offense which calls for severe penalties, and its prosecution and punishment (like that of a murder) is not bound by the statute of limitations. However incompetence or negligence in managing a business or even a reckless waste of firm's assets (by speculating on the stockmarket, for example) does not normally constitute a fraud. In such cases, the aggrieved party (creditors or stockholders/shareholders) must prove that at some point they were intentionally deceived on a material fact. See also statute of frauds.
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