Question: What is fraud under the law?

Answer: In Wisconsin, fraud is committed by somebody who obtains the property of another person by deception or by lying. So essentially it’s the same as theft but with theft you’re taking something that belongs to somebody else without their permission; with fraud, you’re lying to somebody or tricking somebody in order to get them to give something to you.

The different degrees of fraud are basically very similar or, in most cases, identical to theft. The penalties go up and up and up based on the value of the property. So a case involving less than $2,500 in Wisconsin would only be a misdemeanor carrying up to nine months in jail. The highest level would be values of property carrying over $10,000 in value and that is a felony that can give you up to 10 years in prison.

I should also point out that there are some specific things that you might think of as fraud that are typically handled differently. So lying about your identity or falsifying a check, those could technically be considered fraud but they’re generally handled in Wisconsin under more specific statutes. So lying about your identity could be considered identity theft and falsifying a check could be considered forgery and those have their own separate penalties.

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