Like previous theft acts, the Fraud Act of 2006 sought to more clearly define theft through deception or fraud. In fact, the full title of the fraud act is, "An Act to make provision for, and in connection with, criminal liability for fraud and obtaining services dishonestly." It is quite obvious that the Act sought to define crimes committed through deception in a manner which strictly prohibited individuals from illegally obtaining property through false pretenses, fraud, or misrepresentation of facts.
The Fraud Act of 2006 was built on the foundation of previous acts which defined crimes of fraud. Previously, Acts such as the Theft Act of 1978 defined these types of crimes as crimes committed through false pretenses. However, crimes were much more difficult to prosecute when the laws were not easily defined. The Fraud Act of 2006 made crimes of this type much easier to prosecute because of the ease of defining the crimes. Also, the new Act was much more inclusive of these types of crimes due to the language contained in the Act.
The Fraud Act of 2006 defined all crimes that were perpetrated with the intent to deceive the victim while the offender gained some form of property. Crimes of that nature were put into three classes. Fraud crimes were labeled as misrepresentation, failure to disclose and abuse of a position, as they apply to the commission of a crime. The Fraud Act also laid out sentencing guidelines for persons convicted of crimes committed through acts of fraud.
It is interesting to note that similar crimes were first defined as crimes committed through false pretenses. With each additional update to laws that apply to crimes of this nature, the language more clearly defined both the crimes and the means of committing such crimes. False pretenses were an obvious act of fraud, but the definition of such acts was not as succinct as it is in the new laws.
With previous Acts, the laws were considered too complicated and extremely difficult to prosecute. Now, however, theft laws allow many types of crimes to be more easily prosecuted as they are easier to include under the new statutes.
Previous Acts that covered theft laws in the United Kingdom were not as succinct and easily understood as those in the Fraud Act of 2006. While the Act may contain shorter statutes, more crimes are actually covered in the statutes. In essence, the Act now encompasses enumerable crimes because of the simple language used to define acts of fraud. In addition, many types of property, even services, are covered simply due to the new, more inclusive language.