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The Language of Fraud Cases$
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Roger W. Shuy

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780190270643

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190270643.001.0001

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Art Theft Fraud

Art Theft Fraud

(p.221) 8 Art Theft Fraud
The Language of Fraud Cases

Roger W. Shuy

Oxford University Press

Five years after two valuable paintings were stolen from the home of a prominent doctor a lawyer was arrested and convinced to tape-record his accomplice, another lawyer, who also admitted that he was responsible for the theft. Suspecting that the doctor had orchestrated the theft to use the insurance proceeds to satisfy his huge financial problems, the police had the second lawyer covertly tape his conversations with the doctor to elicit his admission about orchestrating the theft. The second lawyer presented the speech event as a friendly business call about their mutual stock transactions, but toward the end of the conversation he introduced his real agenda—that the other lawyer was about to turn in the paintings to the police. The doctor said, “go ahead, it doesn’t involve me.” He warned the caller to stay away from any involvement, but he never admitted to orchestrating the theft.

Keywords:   coded language, wire fraud conspiracy, obtaining property fraudulently, fishing speech event, schemas, agenda, themes, speech acts, conversational strategies, inferences

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