Taking one step further than spreading distorted and misleading information, companies have been shown to intentionally spread downright false information in order to deceive and avoid responsibility. Such activities can amount to fraud.

Although its definition differs slightly throughout legal jurisdictions, fraud generally has the following characteristics: it involves a false statement intentionally made with the knowledge of its falsehood for the purpose of deceiving the recipient of the statement (victim).[1]

[1] West’s Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. S.v., fraud”, https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/fraud (accessed November 7, 2019); Jan Kappel and Jan Ehling, “Germany: Business Crime 2020,”International Comparative Legal Guides, October 10, 2019, https://iclg.com/practice-areas/business-crime-laws-and-regulations/germany (accessed November 7, 2019).