You’ve seen some of the big names associated with fraud in the headlines: Bernie Maddoff, Elizabeth Holmes, Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are just a few. None of these people were exactly hurting for money themselves, so why on earth did they get involved in fraud?

A lot of people assume that narcissism and hubris are the only reasons that people commit fraud. While that may be true in a few cases, the vast majority of people who commit fraud do so for reasons that are actually psychologically quite complex.

 In fact, many of them may get involved in fraud because they are following a different set of ethics entirely. Basically, they convince themselves that they are doing something unethical for ethical reasons. In their minds, their fraud is a small bad act that somehow serves the greater good.

 Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, for example, may have both convinced themselves that they were committing victimless crimes that only served to advance their children when they engaged in scams to get their teens into upper-echelon universities. They likely prioritized their parental obligations and their children’s’ futures over acting illegally. Even Bernie Madoff said that he started deceiving clients about their investments simply because he couldn’t face up to telling them that their investments had gone bust.

 If you’re accused of fraud, it’s important to work with a defense attorney who can help the court understand the narrative behind your actions. People are rarely the villain in their own story — and helping the court understand why you did what you did can go a long way toward mitigating the consequences you face.