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A colloquial term referring to the unlawful acquisition of public money through questionable and improper transactions with public officials.

Graft is the personal gain or advantage earned by an individual at the expense of others as a result of the exploitation of the singular status of, or an influential relationship with, another who has a position of public trust or confidence. The advantage or gain is accrued without any exchange of legitimate compensatory services.

Behavior that leads to graft includes Bribery and dishonest dealings in the performance of public or official acts. Graft usually implies the existence of theft, corruption, Fraud, and the lack of integrity that is expected in any transaction involving a public official.


noun blackmail, bribery, corruption, fraudulent income, hush money, illegal profit, illicit profit, illicit revenue, inserere, kickback, money illegally accuired, political corruption, profiteering, property illegally acquired, unjust acquisition, unlawful gain
Associated concepts: bribery, corruption, official misconduct
See also: bribe, connect, corruption, crime, gratuity, hush money, improbity, spoils

GRAFT. A figurative term in chancery practice, to designate the right of a mortgagee in premises, to which the mortgagor at the time of making the mortgage had an imperfect title, but who afterwards obtained a good title. In this case the new mortgage is considered a graft into the old stock, and, as arising in consideration of the former title. 1 Ball & Beat. 46; Id. 40; Id. 57; 1 Pow. on Mortg. 190. See 9 Mass. 34. The same principle has obtained by legislative enactment in Louisiana. If a person contracting an obligation towards another, says the Civil Code, art. 2371, grants a mortgage on property of which he is not then the owner, this mortgage shall be valid, if the debtor should ever acquire the ownership of, the property, by whatever right.