Which are in Switzerland the possible charges against a self-employed person that never declared his professional activity but uses a company name to be invoiced and has a company website?

The company exists from an economic perspective, i.e. sends and receive invoices for about 10 years, but is totally absent from the public registers. (Neither the company name, nor the name of the self-employed person.)

Furthermore, there is false private domiciliation, i.e. the person is unreachable by postal mail, as natural person, at his registered private address, which is in fact its business address. Hence, for prosecution, this business is invisible for as a company and unreachable as a natural person.

I'm not sure if forgery in titles would apply, because the person didn't hide his identity.

Would fraud (escroquerie) apply?

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    Why you you say that "the person is unreachable by postal mail"? Have you sent mail to the address you have for this person? What happened?
    – brhans
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 12:24
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    Are you asking what charges the prosecuting authorities could bring if they so decided, or what legal action an individual can take? Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 12:59
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    I would just note that in some jurisdictions there's nothing preventing a sole proprietor from adopting a business identity such as "Acme Widgets" without forming a company or "registering" the business. I have no idea whether that's true in Switzerland, but if it is there may be nothing to be charged. From what public registries is this business absent?
    – phoog
    Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 13:43
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    @phoog: Acme Widgets would be closed down on public interest grounds. Not one of their products ever caught the RoadRunner. Commented Sep 19, 2019 at 14:08

1 Answer 1


In U.S. law, the company would be treated as a trade name of the individual, and a court would probably authorize substituted service of process at the business address provided by him, if service could not be had on the individual whom you dealt with. This would ordinarily not be a criminal matter.

I have little confidence regarding whether a similar analysis would or would not apply under Swiss law, which uses different corporate law concepts and has a concept of a "merchant" with legal obligations by virtue of that status that is more developed than in U.S. law. I also wouldn't be confident that the same rules would apply in every canton or half-canton in Switzerland on a issue like this one.

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