Is fraud stealing?

Question
Is fraud stealing?
Answer
Thanks for your question. In the eight commandment in Exodus 20:15, God states, "You shall not steal." Stealing includes, but is not limited to theft, schemes and devices to defraud, stealing of one's spouse, livestock, agricultural produce, property, over taxation, not paying one's taxes due, et. al. So, "Yes" fraud in its many and various forms, is stealing and against God's Law.

The Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 42, asks and answers your question as well:

110. Q. What does God forbid in the eighth commandment?

A. God forbids not only outright theft and robbery [1] but also such wicked schemes and devices as false weights and measures, deceptive merchandising, counterfeit money, and usury; [2] we must not defraud our neighbour in any way, whether by force or by show of right. [3] In addition God forbids all greed [4] and all abuse or squandering of his gifts. [5]

1.
 Exod. 22:1; 1 Cor. 5:9, 10; 6:9, 10.
2.
 Deut. 25:13-16; Psa. 15:5; Prov. 11:1; 12:22; Ezek. 45:9-12; Luke 6:35.
3.
 Mic. 6:9-11; Luke 3:14; Jas. 5:1-6.
4.
 Luke 12:15; Eph. 5:5.
5.
 Prov. 21:20; 23:20, 21; Luke 16:10-13.

111. Q. What does God require of you in this commandment?

A. I must promote my neighbour's good wherever I can and may, deal with him as I would like others to deal with me, and work faithfully so that I may be able to give to those in need. [1]

1.
 Isa. 58:5-10; Matt. 7:12; Gal. 6:9, 10; Eph. 4:28.

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).