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Types of Crimes

Types of Crimes


Fraud is described as an intentionally deceptive practice tailored to provide the person behind it with gains that are unlawful or to deny the victim his or her rights (Levi, 2013). The occurrence of fraud can be in the form of finance, investment, real estate, or insurance. It can occur in the sale of real property like land, personal property, such as collectibles and art as well as properties that are intangible like bonds and stocks. There are various types of fraud, and they include credit card fraud, tax fraud, securities fraud, wire fraud, and bankruptcy fraud. It also involves representing facts falsely whether by withholding essential information falsely or the provision of false statements to someone else to achieve something which could not be achieved without the deception.

Often, the fraud perpetrator has possession of valuable information that the victim does not have, and this allows the victim to be deceived by the perpetrator. At heart, the company or the individual that commits the fraud takes advantage of information asymmetry; mainly, that the cost of resources of verifying and reviewing that specific information can be fundamental enough in creating a disincentive to invest adequately in the prevention of fraud (Levi, 2013).  Local, state and federal laws criminalize fraud, but fraudulent practices might not often lead to a criminal trial. Prosecutors of the government always have considerable discretion when it comes to determining if at all a case should go to trial and settlement might instead be pursued if it would lead to a less costly and speedier resolution and if it ends up in a lawsuit, the perpetrator might be convicted and imprisoned. While the government might prefer that a fraudulent action is settled outside the courts, non-governmental parties who claim injury might prefer to pursue a civil case. The perpetrators might be sued by the victims to recover funds, or in the case where there is no loss of funds, victims might sue to reestablish their rights (Levi, 2013). To prove that a fraudulent action has occurred, the perpetrator must have committed the following acts; they must have provided false statements as material facts, they must have known the falsehood of the statement, they must have intentions of deceiving the victim, the victims must demonstrate reliance on the false statement, and finally, the victim is required to have suffered damages as a result of the intentionally false statements.

Theft of Intellectual Property

Intellectual property is described as an idea or material that is protected by trademark, copyright, trade secret, or patent laws. Intellectual property might include poems, client lists, logos, mechanical inventions, among others (Moore, 2011). Theft of intellectual property takes place when someone intentionally takes, misappropriates, uses, or steals any property protected under the laws of intellectual property.  Since there exist various intellectual property types, there also exist multiple variations of theft of intellectual property. For instance, if a person intentionally copies the logo of a company and uses it own their items without the consent of that company, then the individual is a perpetrator of IP theft.

Just like Fraudulent cases, most of the case laws related to IP theft are civil laws instead of criminal laws and most of the time; civil cases provide the only available judicial authority in criminal prosecutions(Moore, 2011). With that, civil patterns are most instructive to statuses of criminal copyright; conduct not supporting an infringement civil action can never constitute criminal infringement. However, criminal property only applies to a subset of conduct that involves infringement of copyright and factors that make an excellent civil case does not necessarily make a good criminal case. For instance, the perpetrator can be liable civilly for infringement of copyright as a matter of strict liability without intending to infringe, and y contrast, a defendant of criminal copyright, can only be convicted if he breached intentionally.

Identity Theft

Theft of identity is governed by both state and federal laws. Laws of states tend to vary, but it is typically defined as a crime that includes the intentions of using another person’s identity to aid, commit, or abet any activities that are unlawful (Allison, 2005). The crime of identity theft is committed only if without consent, authorization, or permission of the victim and with the intentions of defrauding for her or his benefits or a third person’s benefits. The following factors constitute acts of identity theft; record accesses or obtains identifying details that would help in the access to financial resources, obtaining documents of identification, or obtaining the victim’s benefits. Secondly, obtaining services or goods by using the victim’s identifying information and thirdly, by obtaining documents of identification in the victim’s name. The information types that are usually protected from identity theft misuse include; name, birth date, number of social security, number of driver’s license, among others.

Due to the increase in cases of identity theft and its consequences, in the year 1998, the Congress passed a law that made it a federal crime under the Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act stating that identity theft constitutes a felony under applicable local or state law (Allison, 2005). The 2004 Theft Penalty Enhancement Act followed this law which raised penalties for “intensified” theft of identity requiring the law courts to impose an additional two-year sentence for general offenses and five years for offenses related to terrorism. This kind of theft is among the fastest-growing crimes in the United States robbing the victims of money, time, and their peace of mind.

Theft of money

Theft of money can take many forms from robbery, embezzlement, extortion, larceny, among others. First, embezzlement is described as larceny or theft of property or money by an individual entrusted the responsibility for the assets. Typically, embezzlement takes place in the corporate and employment settings (Fantaye,2004). Accounting embezzlement is a common crime form that involves accounting records manipulation in order to hide the theft of money. Offenders are often provided with lawful property possession, but they convert it into their personal use. They usually are given access to the money or property of someone else to manage, monitor, or use the assets for the best interest of the owner, but they conduct misappropriation of the assets for their personal gain. Credit card fraud is another form of money theft in which it involves someone taking another person’s credit card information without authorization to charge purchases to that account or to withdraw funds from it. Extortion is another form of money theft which involves gaining of money or property by force or threat; property damage, threat, harm to reputation, an unfavorable act of the government, among others (Fantaye, 2004). While it is usually portrayed as a form of theft, extortion is different from a robbery in that the threat involved does not pose impending physical harm to the victims. Tax evasion is also a form of money theft because it involves an individual or company purposefully underpaying their taxes.

Effects on the individual victims and the society

Fraud can have emotional effects on victims. Compared to violent crime victims, they are vulnerable to multiple complications related to stress and psychological problems (Green, 2002). In identity theft, a lot of victims do not easily recover from the financial loss they suffered, and if at all they were scammed, they might feel that they, not only lost their cash but also their self-esteem, sense of security, and dignity. For some, this ordeal might take many years to resolve. As a society, fraud may also have adverse effects; economic decline as a result of direct physical damage and losses suffered by publicly used resources like transportation, fire, and police departments, indirect financial losses sustained by big corporations as a result of losses that were suffered by clients.

Research has stated that counterfeiting has developed into a trillion-dollar industry in the world and this has deprived many governments of the much-needed revenue of taxes (Green, 2002). The U.S. on its own loses a total of two hundred and fifty billion dollars annually to different kinds of theft of intellectual property, and in turn, it results in a loss of seven hundred and fifty thousand jobs nationally. In the industry of music, for instance, the people who suffer more are neither the companies nor the musicians but middle or low-level employees such as sound engineers and songwriters who are left jobless due to sales lost to illegal downloads.


Levi, M. (2013). Regulating Fraud (Routledge Revivals): White-Collar Crime and the Criminal Process. Routledge.

Allison, S. F., Schuck, A. M., & Lersch, K. M. (2005). Exploring the crime of identity theft: Prevalence, clearance rates, and victim/offender characteristics. Journal of Criminal Justice, 33(1), 19-29.

Moore, A. P., Cappelli, D. M., Caron, T. C., Shaw, E., Spooner, D., & Trzeciak, R. F. (2011). A preliminary model of insider theft of intellectual property (No. MU/SEI-2011-TN-013). CARNEGIE-MELLON UNIV PITTSBURGH PA SOFTWARE ENGINEERING INST.

Fantaye, D. K. (2004). Fighting corruption and embezzlement in third world countries. The Journal of Criminal Law, 68(2), 170-176.

Green, S. P. (2002). Plagiarism, norms, and the limits of theft law: Some observations on the use of criminal sanctions in enforcing intellectual property rights. Hastings LJ, 54, 167.


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Types of Crimes

Types of Crimes


Prepare a research paper in which you define and examine the following:

  • Fraud
  • Theft of money
  • Theft of intellectual property
  • Identity theft

Be sure to include the following:

  • Determine how these crimes are defined by law enforcement to indicate differences and similarities between them.  Identify and explain the key differences between these crimes.
  • Summarize the impact on both the individual victim(s) and society as a whole.
  • Interpret the differences in response from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies to each crime.  For instance, what constitutes a felony offense rather than a misdemeanor?

Support your paper with at least three scholarly or professional sources. In addition to these specified resources, other appropriate scholarly resources, including older articles, may be included.

Length: 5-7 pages, not including title and reference pages

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