The Three Types of Fraud
Fraud can consist of making a statement of a fact by one who does not believe it to be true, concealing an important fact that is not known to the other person, and making a promise with no intention of performing.
Fraud by intentional misrepresentation occurs when a defendant represents an important fact as true, which he/she knows is false, that the the plaintiff relies upon to his/her detriment. Example: An automobile dealer states that a used car has never been in an accident when he/she knows the car was once in a serious crash, and had extensive body work to repair the damage.
Fraud by concealment is when the defendant intentionally conceals or suppresses an important fact from the plaintiff, with the intent to deceive, that the plaintiff is not aware of, and the plaintiff is deceived. Example: The seller of a house knows that the roof leaks whenever it rains, but conceals this fact from the buyer.
Fraud by false promise is when the defendant makes a promise that is important to the transaction that he/she did not intend to perform at the time the promise was made that the plaintiff relies upon to his/her detriment. Example: A manufacturer promises to deliver parts by a date certain, but knows the parts are out of back-ordered, and cannot be delivered until months later.
Fraud can take many forms, but always requires the defendant's intent to deceive. Fraud is a powerful cause of action as it can result in an award of punitive damages, in addition to the plaintiff's actual damages.