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Fraud is when a person cheats other people, businesses or the government. That person does not describe the situation accurately. There are different kinds of fraud, for example identity fraud, internet fraud, swindling and money laundering. You can be involved in a fraud case in different ways, for example as a suspect, a victim or a witness.

Suspect in a fraud case

If the prosecutor decides that the criminal case in which you are a suspect should go to court, the court will send you a ‘summons’ to invite you to the hearing. The summons will tell you what you are accused of, and when (date and time) and where (location) you must go to court.

Which criminal court will deal with the case?

The prosecutor can demand different punishments depending on the kind of fraud. If the demand is 1 year in prison or less, and if the case involves a simple crime, then a single judge (politierechter) will deal with the case. If the demand is higher, and/or if the case is more complicated, then a panel of 3 judges will deal with the case. This is called a three-judge division.

Orientation points for punishments

Courts and courts of appeal have developed ‘orientation points’ for sentencing. These points say how judges can punish specific crimes. Judges always consider the specific situation when they decide on a punishment.

Victim of fraud


If you have reported the fraud to the police, and if the police have arrested a suspect, you have rights as a victim. For example, you have the right to get information about the trial.

Loss or damages caused by fraud

If you are a victim of fraud and you ask for compensation, you will be treated as a ‘party to the proceedings’. This means that you are an ‘injured party’ (someone who has suffered because of the fraud) in the criminal trial.

Witness of fraud

Giving a statement to the police

If you know that someone has committed fraud (for example swindling or money laundering), you can report this to the police. The supervisory judge can also invite you to an interview during the investigation before the case goes to court.

Witness in a criminal case

Sometimes the judge or the supervisory judge will also interview a witness during the court case. In that case, the prosecutor or supervisory judge will invite you to go to court. The court will send you a letter by registered post. This letter will tell you where and when to go to court as a witness. You must go to court; you cannot choose not to go.

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