False Statement Law & Legal Definition


A false statement is defined according to the context in which it is used. Various entities may define it to be a statement which is factually incorrect, with or without the element of knowing on the part of the statement's maker. Some may impose a duty of reasonable investigation on the maker. Policies of each entity and statutory and case law determines the definition of a false statement in the particular context.

The following is an example of a definition of false statement used in relation to unemployment benefits in one state:

" Unemployment Insurance Code Section 1257(a) provides an individual is disqualified for unemployment benefits if:

"He or she willfully, for the purpose of obtaining unemployment compensation benefits, either made a false statement or representation, with actual knowledge of the falsity thereof, or withheld a material fact in order to obtain any unemployment compensation benefits under this division."

Thus, the elements of a false statement disqualification are:

  • The claimant either made a false statement or representation, or withheld a material fact
  • Willfully
  • With actual knowledge of the falsity
  • For the purpose of obtaining benefits.

If any one of these elements is missing, the interviewer may not assess a false statement disqualification. A discussion of the individual elements follows.

a. False Statement or Representation, or Withholding a Material Fact

False Defined

"False" is defined in McBride v. People (126 Col. 277, 248 P.2d 725), a 1952 Colorado Supreme Court Decision, as:

"False "denotes an intentional, deliberate, and willful untruth, something beyond mere inaccuracy."

"False" should be construed to mean "intentionally or willfully untrue."

"False" may mean untrue or it may mean designedly untrue, implying an intention to deceive. When applied to the representations of one inducing an act to another's injury it implies a purpose to deceive."

A false statement or representation may be made orally or in writing, and may be a positive statement as well as silence or concealment of a material fact."