Criminal Fraud

40 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2009

See all articles by Ellen S. Podgor

Ellen S. Podgor

Stetson University College of Law

Date Written: January 7, 1999


Fraud is an integral aspect of several criminal statutes. This article describes the spectrum of fraud offenses, noting the amorphous nature of the "concept" of fraud.

The Article initially considers the definition of fraud. It looks at when fraud serves as the object of an offense. It focuses here on mail fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud. Finally it examines how best to limit fraud statutes.

Although some may believe that certain generic fraud statutes need to be left as "stopgap devices" until the legislature has the opportunity to pass "particularized legislation," such a view transfers the decision-making authority to the executive. This Article advocates for increased specificity in fraud statutes, although it does not call for increased criminalization.

Keywords: fraud, criminal law, mail fraud, wire fraud, statutory interpretation

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Podgor, Ellen S., Criminal Fraud (January 7, 1999). American University Law Review, Vol. 48, No. 4, p. 729, 1999. Available at SSRN:

Ellen S. Podgor (Contact Author)

Stetson University College of Law ( email )

1401 61st Street South
Gulfport, FL 33707
United States
727 562 7348 (Phone)


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