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February 04, 2017
Question: I have been accused of cheating an individual out of a large sum of money. He said I cheated on him because I gave him a false name. I did give him a different name, but that is the only reason he has for accusing me of fraud. Would he have a court case?
Answer: UAE Criminal Law Article No 399/1 states that a fine or detention will be issued "upon anyone who seizes, for himself or another, a movable property, or obtains a document or signature thereon, cancellation or destruction thereof or amendment thereto by fraudulent means, or by assuming a false name or capacity, where such an act leads to deception of a victim and leads him to surrender". To constitute fraud, the act has to lead to the deception of the victim, which leads them to surrender the money. That you gave a different name should not constitute an independent crime unless the court believes this was the reason the victim handed over the money. In a similar case at Dubai Supreme Court, using a different name alone was not enough for the accused to be considered guilty.
The United Arab Emirates abrogated the earlier Penal Code and issued a new law to govern crimes and penalties, called the Federal Decree-Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of Crimes and Penalties Law. The new Penal Code was issued on 20 September 2021 and came into force on 2 January 2022. Article 451 of the new Penal Code is the relevant provision for fraud.