Deceit is most commonly seen as the key element of the tort of fraud. Though primarily a common law concept, deceit is sometimes defined by states in either criminal or civil statutes. For example:
- In New Jersey, "The term 'deceive' does not, however, include falsity as to matters having no pecuniary significance, or puffing or exaggeration by statements unlikely to deceive ordinary persons in the group addressed."
- California has a statute that defines deceit in the context of civil fraud. California Civil Code Section 1710 defines deceit as either:
- The suggestion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who does not believe it to be true;
- The assertion, as a fact, of that which is not true, by one who has no reasonable ground for believing it to be true;
- The suppression of a fact, by one who is bound to disclose it, or who gives information of other facts which are likely to mislead for want of communication of that fact; or,
- A promise, made without any intention of performing it.
See e.g., Ray v. Watnick, 182 F. Supp. 3d 23 (S.D.N.Y. 2016); Duszynski v. Allstate Ins. Co., 107 A.D.3d 1448, 967 N.Y.S.2d 796, 2013 (N.Y. App. Div. 2013)
[Last updated in September of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team]