One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Originally: a crime involving dishonesty or false statement, especially forgery. Later more usually: the body of crimes of this sort, including fraud, forgery, perjury, etc., considered collectively.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in William Segar (d. 1633), herald. From classical Latin crīmen falsī crime (or charge) of forgery from crīmen + falsī, genitive of falsum fraudulent tampering with documents, forgery, fraud, use as noun of neuter of falsus.
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