Lying Versus Fraud

From: B
Sent: Friday, April 27, 2018 8:48 PM
To: wblock@loyno.edu
Subject: correction

I left out an important part of the definition of fraud: The intentionally making a false statement of fact with intent to deceive. A novelist deliberately makes false statements of fact with the intention of gaining something of value (book sales), but there is no fraud because there is no intent to deceive. The readers understand the novelist is telling an invented story for the purpose of entertainment.

Dear B: I now make a false statement with the intent to decieve you. My statement is: “2+2=5.” Ha! Were you fooled? However, this is not fraudulent. Fraud, for the libertarian, is limited to cases where theft takes place. That is a necessary, albeit not sufficient condition. I have not stolen anything from you by making this false statement, on the basis of which I purposefully attempted to deceive you.

However, I now sell you a bag of potatoes for $5 (I tell you there are potatoes in the bag), and it actually contains rocks, not potatoes, then I stole $5 from you. (Don’t tell the NYTimes I did this to you; they’ll label me as a theif, a fraudster). Fraud requires theft, and in the mathematical equation I sent you, above, I didn’t steal anything from you. So, I didn’t commit fraud. I just lied to you. (Hey, NYTimes, I didn’t really lie to him. I am not a liar here. I’m just employing a reductio ad absurdum.)

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3:03 pm on April 28, 2018