Intrinsic fraud is an intentionally false representation that goes to the heart of what a given lawsuit is about, in other words, whether fraud was used to procure the transaction. (If the transaction was fraudulent, it probably does not have the legal status of a contract.)

Intrinsic fraud is distinguished from extrinsic fraud (a/k/a collateral fraud) which is a deceptive means of keeping a person from discovering and/or enforcing legal rights.

It is possible to have either intrinsic or extrinsic frauds, or both.

During a trial, perjury, forgery, and bribery of a witness constitute frauds that might have been relieved by the court. Such actions will usually lead to a mistrial being declared and after any penalties for the involved parties a new trial will take place on the same matter.

Two types of intrinsic fraud in contract law are fraud in the inducement and fraud in the factum.

Fraud in the factum is a legal defense, and occurs where A signs a contract, but either does not realize that it is a contract or does not understand the nature of the contract, because of some false information that B gave to A. For example, if John tells his mother that he is taking a college course on handwriting analysis, and for his homework, he needs her to read and sign a pretend deed. If Mom signs the deed believing what he told her, and John tries to enforce the deed, Mom can plead “fraud in the factum.”

Fraud in the inducement is an equitable defense, and occurs when A signs a contract, knowing that it is a contract and (at least having a rough idea) what the contract is about, but the reason A signed the contract was because of some false information that B gave to A. For example, if John tells his mother to sign a deed giving him her property, Mom refuses at first, then John explains that the deed will be kept in a safe deposit box until she dies. If Mom signs the deed because of this statement from John, and John tries to enforce the deed prior to Mom’s death, Mom can plead “fraud in the inducement.”


Extrinsic fraud is fraud that “induces one not to present a case in court or deprives one of the opportunity to be heard [or] is not involved in the actual issues ….”

It can involve fraud on the court, but is not necessarily the same.

More broadly, it is defined as:
fraudulent acts which keep a person from obtaining information about his/her rights to enforce a contract or getting evidence to defend against a lawsuit. This could include destroying evidence or misleading an ignorant person about the right to sue. Extrinsic fraud is distinguished from “intrinsic fraud,” which is the fraud that is the subject of a lawsuit.

Extrinsic fraud does not mean merely lying or perjury, nor misrepresentations, nor intrinsic fraud, nor “to matters that could have been raised during the divorce proceeding.” It must involve “collateral … circumstances” such as:
“bribery of a judge or juror,”
“fabrication of evidence by an attorney,”
“preventing another party’s witness from appearing,”
“intentionally failing to join a necessary party,” or
“misleading another party into thinking a continuance had been granted….”


SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) — A longtime northeastern Pennsylvania judge was ordered to spend nearly three decades in prison for his role in a massive juvenile justice bribery scandal that prompted the state’s high court to toss thousands of convictions.

By David Kidwell, AP (Read the story here)

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