Another Type of Fraud: Estafa by means of Deceit

Estafa by means of Deceit Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices Image

Law and Definition of Estafa by False Pretenses or Deceit

The crime of Estafa or Swindling is punishable under Article 315 of the Revised Penal Code (“RPC”) and there are different forms of committing it. Estafa can be committed a) with unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence; b) by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts; and c) through fraudulent means.

The first form which is “with unfaithfulness or abuse of confidence” is known as estafa with abuse of confidence, while the second form and third form, which are “by means of false pretenses or fraudulent acts” and “through fraudulent means” are known simply as estafa by means of deceit.

In general, case laws enumerate the elements of Estafa by means of deceit, as follows:

  1. that there must be a false pretense or fraudulent representation as to the offender’s power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions;
  2. that such false pretense or fraudulent representation was made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud;
  3. that the offended party relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act, or fraudulent means and was induced to part with his money or property; and
  4. that, as a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.

This article is focused on the discussion of estafa under Article 315, paragraph 2 (a) of the RPC, which is covered by estafa by means of deceit. Accordingly, this crime of estafa is defined and penalized by Article 315, paragraph 2 (a) of the Revised Penal Code, to wit.:

“Article 315. Swindling (estafa). Any person who shall defraud another by any of the means mentioned herein below shall be punished by:

x x xx

2. By means of any of the following false pretenses or fraudulent acts executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud:

(a) By using fictitious name, or falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions, or by means of other similar deceits.”

The elements of the said crime are as follows:

  • There must be a false pretense, fraudulent acts or fraudulent means;
  • Such false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means must be made or executed prior to or simultaneously with the commission of the fraud;
  • The offended party must have relied on the false pretense, fraudulent act or fraudulent means and was thus induced to part with his money or property; and
  • As a result thereof, the offended party suffered damage.

In this particular crime, three ways are enumerated to commit such, and they are:

  • By using fictitious name;
  • By falsely pretending to possess power, influence, qualifications, property, credit, agency, business or imaginary transactions
  • by means of other similar deceits.”

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