March 05, 2018 Articles

A Chill in the Air: Recent Attempts to Turn Defamation into Mail and Wire Fraud

When does an allegedly false statement become a fraudulent one?

By Lance Koonce

When does an allegedly false statement become a fraudulent one? In most cases, it does not.

Under state or federal law, demonstrating that a statement constitutes an act of fraud typically requires more than showing mere falsity—a plaintiff must also show intent to deprive another of money, property, or a legal right, and reliance on the alleged statement by the party being defrauded. For instance, under California law, a plaintiff seeking to prove fraud must demonstrate (a) false representation, (b) knowledge of its falsity, (c) intent to induce reliance, (d) justifiable reliance, and (e) resulting damage. Engalla v. Permanente Med. Grp., Inc., 15 Cal. 4th 951, 974 (1997). So, while in some cases a false statement combined with these additional showings might suffice to show fraud, alleged false statements alone are insufficient.

Premium Content For:
  • Litigation Section
Join - Now