Characteristics of False Allegation Adult Crimes


Additional information and reprint requests:
James J. McNamara, M.S.
Supervisory Special Agent
FBI Academy
Quantico, VA 22135


Abstract:  The purpose of this study was to identify common factors in false allegation adult crimes, by examining the dynamics involved in 30 confirmed false allegation cases. The authors conducted a comprehensive review of these adjudicated cases and then completed a collection instrument to capture offender demographics, offense characteristics, and motive. The results indicated that most false allegation crimes were committed by women (73.3%) and Caucasians (93.3%). Data indicated that more interpersonally violent allegations were primarily motivated by attention/sympathy needs (50.0%), whereas more impersonal offenses involved other motivations such as providing an alibi (16.7%) or profit (13.3%). Offenders tended to be younger, high school graduates with no higher education (43.3%). A total of 23.3% of offenders had a prior criminal history. Male offenders appeared as likely as women to be motivated by attention/sympathy; however, men tended to select more violent, nonsexual offenses (e.g., attempted murder) than women.