Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Ballentine's Law Dictionary

    Any deceitful practice used in depriving or endeavoring to deprive another of his known right by means of some artful device or plan contrary to the plain rules of common honesty. See 5 Pa. St. 216, 47 Am. Dec. 408.

  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    Fraud consists of some deceitful practice or willful device, resorted to with intent to deprive another of his right or in some manner to do him an injury. As distinguished from negligence, it is always positive, intentional. Maher v. Hibernia Ins. Co., 67 N. Y. 292; Alexander v. Church, 53 Conn. 561, 4 Atl. 103; Studer v. Bleistein, 115 N. Y. 316, 22 N. E. 243, 7 I R. A. 702'; Moore v. Crawford, 130 U. S. 122, 9 Sup. Ct 447, 32 L. Ed. 878; Fechheimer v. Baum (C. C.) 37 Fed. 167; U. S. v. Beach (D. Ct) 71 Fed. 160; Gardner v. Heartt, 3 Denlo (N. Y.) 232; Monroe Mercantile Co. v. Arnold, 108 Ga. 449, 34 S. E. 176. Fraud, as applied to contracts, is the cause of an error bearing on a material part of the contract, created or continued by artifice, with design to obtain some unjust advantage to the one party, or to cause an inconven-ienco or loss to the other. Civil Code Ln. art. 1847. Fraud, in the sense of a court of equity, properly includes all acts, omissions, and concealments which involve a breach of legal or equitable duty, trust, or confidence justly reposed, and are injurious to another, or by which an undue and unconscientious advantage is taken of another. 1 Story, Eq. Jut. § 187. Synonyms. The term "fraud" is sometimes used as synonymous with "covin," "collusion," or "deceit." But distinctions are properly taken in the meanings of these words, for which reference may be had to the titles Covin ; Collusion ; Deceit. Classification. Fraud is either actual or constructive. Actual fraud consists in deceit, artifice, trick, design, some direct and active operation of the mind ; it includes cases of the intentional and successful employment of any cunning, deception, or artifice used to circumvent or cheat another; it is something said, done, or omitted by a person with the design of perpetrating what he knows to be a cheat or deception. Constructive fraud consists in any act of commission or omission contrary to legal or equitable duty, trust, or confidence justly reposed, which is contrary to good conscience and operates to the injury of another. Or, as otherwise defined, it is an act, statement or omission which operates as a virtual fraud on an individual, or which, if generally permitted, would be prejudicial to the public welfare, and yet may have been unconnected with any selfish or evil design. Or, according to Story, constructive frauds are such acts or contracts as, though not originating in any actual evil design or contrivance to perpetrate a positive fraud or injury upon other persons, are yet, by their tendency to deceive or mislead other persons, or to violate private or public confidence, or to impair or injure the public interests, deemed equally reprehensible with actual fraud. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. § 258. And see, generally, Code Ga. 1882, § 3173; People v. Kelly, 35 Barb. (N. Y.) 457; Jackson v. Jackson, 47 Ga. 99; Hatch v. Barrett, 34 Kan. 223, 8 Pac. 129; Forker v. Brown, 10 Misc. Rep. 161, 30 N. Y. Supp. 827; Massachusetts Ben. L. Ass'n v. Robinson, 104 Ga. 256, 30 S. E. 918, 42 L. In A. 261; Haas v. Stembach, 156 III. 44, 41 N. E. 51; Newell v. Wagness, 1 N. D. 62, 44 N. W. 1014; Carty v. Connolly, 91 Cal. 15, 27 Pac. 599. Fraud is also classified as fraud in fact and fraud in law. The former is actual, positive, intentional fraud. Fraud disclosed by matters of fact, as distinguished from constructive fraud or fraud in law. McKibbin v. Martin, 64'Pa. 356, 3 Am. Rep. 588; Cook v. Burnham, 3 Kan. App. 27, 44 Pac. 447. Fraud in law is fraud in contemplation of law; fraud implied or inferred by law; fraud made out by construction of law, as distinguished from fraud found by a jury from matter of fact; constructive fraud (q. v.) See 2 Kent, Comm. 5l2-532; Delaney v. Valentine, 154 N. Y. 692, 49 N. E. 65; Burr v. Clement, 9 Colo. 1, 9 Pac. 633. Fraud is also said to be legal or positive. The former is fraud made out by legal construction or inference, or the same thing as constructive fraud. Newell v. Wagness, 1 N. D. 62, 44 N. W. 1014. Positive fraud is the same thing as actual fraud. See Douthitt v. Applegate, 33 Kan. 395, 6 Pac. 575, 52 Am. Rqp. 533.
    —Actionable fraud. See Actionable.
    — Frauds, statute of. This is the common designation of a very celebrated English statute, (29 Car. II. c. 3,) passed in 1677, and which bas been adopted, in a more or less modified form, in nearly all of the United States. Its chief characteristic is the provision that no suit or action shall be maintained on certain classes of contracts or engagements unless there shall be a note or memorandum thereof in writing signed by the party to be charged or by his authorized agent. Its object was to close the door to the numerous frauds which were believed to be perpetrated, and the perjuries which were believed to be committed, when such obligations could be enforced upon no other evidence than the mere recollection of witnesses. It is more fully named as the "statute of frauds and perjuries."
    —Pious fraud. A subterfuge or evasion considered morally justifiable on account of the ends sought to be promoted ; particularly applied to an evasion or disregard of the laws in the interests of religion or religious institutions, such as circumventing the statutes of mortmain.