Fraud is “the knowing breach of the standard of good faith and fair dealing as understood in the community, involving deception or breach of trust, for money.” Fraud is an intentional deception made for personal gain or to damage another individual, for instance, intentionally falsifying and/or fabricating research data, and misleading reporting of the results. Misconduct may not be an intentional action, rather an act of poor management. It also includes failure to follow established protocols if this failure results in unreasonable risk or harm to humans. Fraud has an element of deliberate action, which is not the case with misconduct.
Laws and regulations change as quickly as fraud schemes do. Contractors find new ways to cheat in their government contracts. Companies find new ways to take unlawful advantage of investors or others. Banks find ways to bilk customers out of money by charging illegal fees. Medical device and pharmaceutical companies sell unsafe products and pay illegal kickbacks to physicians. Without insider employees stepping up to expose fraud, abuse and misconduct, most such wrongs would go undetected and bad actors would go unpunished. Whistleblowers are essential in keeping others honest in order to maintain integrity in their places of employment.