FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND FRAUD CHARGES IN NEWMARKET.  416-DEFENCE.

Fraud offences are of the most common offences before the Court in York Region. Being charged with a criminal offence for the first time can be scary and confusing for anyone. Being convicted of a criminal offence can have serious repercussions on various aspects of an individual’s life. Having experienced counsel on your side can minimize these consequences as much as possible. Our Firm can guide you through the criminal justice system and assist in developing the best strategy for your case.

In early 2019, the Firm resolved a criminal and civil case where an accused defrauded their employer of approximately $170,000 in R. v. O.I. [2019]. The Firm was able to negotiate a resolution without a criminal record for the accused. In R. v. A.B. [2018], the Firm secured the withdrawal of a fraud charge where the accused was alleged to have been selling counterfeit concert tickets online.

In 2018, the Firm had nine different fraud charges stayed after a client was alleged to be involved in an international, million-dollar gold bullion scheme in R v. Z.U. [2018]. In that case, the client was alleged to have defrauded senior citizens out of money which was then converted into gold bullion to be shipped over the border into the United States. The investigation involved law enforcement from both Canada and the United States.

In 2017, the Firm resolved four fraud charges without a criminal record in R. v. S.A. [2017]. In that case, a Canada Post employee was alleged to have attempted to defraud a large bank out of $50,000. In R. v. S.D. [2017], the Firm secured the withdrawal of a fraud charge where the accused was alleged to have falsified a Vulnerable Sector Check after being offered a position with the TTC.

In R. v. K.L. [2015], the Firm secured the withdrawal of eight fraud related offences where the defendant was allegedly involved in a commercial theft ring. In R. v. I.B. [2014], the Firm secured the withdrawal of all charges including possession of property obtained by crime, fraud and uttering forged documents. In that case the defendant was accused of participating in a sophisticated TTC Metropass and token scheme.

Having a complete understanding of the Elements of the Criminal Offence, Your Rights and the Consequences associated with a Criminal Record is necessary before any legal decisions are made.

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Legal Information

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fraud?
How Does the Crown Prove the Offence of Fraud?
How to Defend a Fraud Charge in York Region?
What are the Consequences of a Fraud Conviction in York Region?
Can I be Sentenced to Jail for Fraud?

Additional Resources

Assault
Assaulting a Peace Officer
Sentencing Factors
Keeping Your Charges Private
Release from Police Custody
Theft From Your Employer
Resolving Shoplifting Charges
U.S. Waivers
Vulnerable Sector Screening
Consequences of a Criminal Record
Immigration Consequences
Elements of a Crime
Your Rights

What is Fraud?

Section 380(1) of the Criminal Code outlines the offence of fraud. It states that an individual is guilty of the offence of fraud when they, by falsehood, deceit or some other fraudulent means, defrauds any other person or the public of goods, services, money, belongings or security. The accused individual must have intended to commit the fraudulent act(s). In Canada, fraud offences are grouped into two categories depending on the monetary value of the fraud; fraud under $5,000 and fraud over $5,000.

How does the Crown Prove the Offence of Fraud?

To prove the offence of fraud the burden lies with the Crown to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused is guilty of the offence(s) they have been charged with. To accomplish this the Crown must prove that the accused committed an act prohibited by the Criminal Code and that the accused intended to commit the unlawful act. In fraud cases, the Crown must prove that the accused used falsehood, deceit or other fraudulent means to defraud an individual or the public. The Crown must also prove that the accused caused deprivation to an individual or the public as a result of their deceit. The deprivation could be a tangible loss, or the risk of loss. Finally, the Crown must prove that the accused intended to commit the fraud or were aware of the risk associated with their actions and acted recklessly or were willfully blind.

How to Defend a Fraud Charge in York Region?

When developing a strategy to defend a fraud charge, it is important to understand what evidence the Crown has in their possession and how they intend to use it. The best defence will always depend on the facts of the case and the allegations being made. To prove a fraud offence, the Crown must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused intended to defraud the victim and that victim suffered a loss or a risk of loss as a result of the accused’s fraudulent actions. As such, these are two areas of the Crown’s case that the defence may attack.

In some situations, it may be possible to argue that the accused person lacked the necessary intent to be guilty of the fraud offence with which they have been charged. Some individuals who have been charged with fraud were duped into the fraudulent scheme themselves by another fraudster and were unaware that the activities they were engaged in were unlawful. In other scenarios, individuals were unaware their actions were fraudulent for some other reason. It is important to note however, that an accused person who was reckless or willfully blind regarding whether or not their actions constituted fraud will be unable to use this defence.

Another common way to defend a fraud offence is to argue that there was no realistic risk of loss to the victim as a result of the accused’s actions. Where an accused can prove that there was no risk of loss to anyone, the Court cannot find the accused guilty.

If you have been charged with fraud, our Firm can assist you in developing the best strategy for your case. We have experience defending a wide variety of individuals charged with various fraud offences including complex, high value fraud schemes. In many cases, we have been able to resolve even serious cases without criminal records for our clients.

What are the Consequences of a Fraud Conviction in York Region?

Being convicted of a fraud related offence can have serious implications on various aspects of an individual’s life. The value of the fraud committed will play a large role in the severity of the sentence imposed upon the accused if they are convicted.

Fraud under $5,000 is a dual procedure offence, meaning the Crown may determine how the case will proceed through the criminal justice system and the maximum penalty available to the accused if they are convicted. If the Crown chooses to proceed by summary conviction, the maximum penalty the accused may face is two years less a day imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both. If the Crown chooses to proceed by indictment the maximum penalty the accused will face is face is two years imprisonment.

Fraud over $5,000 is a straight indictable offence, meaning the Crown has no discretion regarding the case’s path through the criminal justice system or the maximum penalty that may be imposed on conviction. In these situations, the penalties are much harsher, with the maximum penalty upon conviction being fourteen years’ imprisonment. In cases where the value of the fraud committed exceeds one million dollars, the accused will face a mandatory minimum of two years’ imprisonment.

Both fraud under $5,000 and fraud over $5,000 are serious offences that can lead to serious criminal implications. In addition to criminal sanctions that may be imposed on an accused who is convicted of a fraud offence, other aspects of the accused’s life may also be impacted. Those charged with fraud may have difficulty attaining or maintaining employment. Many employers require a background check prior to hiring someone and having a fraud conviction can be a red flag for potential employers. A criminal conviction for fraud can also make travel outside of Canada difficult. Many countries, especially the United States, will refuse entry to anyone who has a criminal record.

If you have been charged with a fraud offence it is important to consult experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. Our Firm can help minimize the negative impacts a fraud charge can have on your life.

Can I be Sentenced to Jail for Fraud?

In some cases, yes. The sentences for those convicted of fraud can range from out of custody sentences such as probation, community services and/ or fines, to lengthy periods of incarceration. Whether or not an individual will be sentenced to prison for their fraud offence will depend on a myriad of factors. One of the most important factors will be the value of the alleged fraud. An individual charged with fraud under $5,000 will face a maximum of two years imprisonment. On the other hand, an individual charged with fraud over $5,000 will face a maximum of fourteen years’ imprisonment, and where the value exceeds one million dollars the accused will be sentenced to a minimum of two years’ imprisonment.

In addition to the value of the fraud, the Court will also look at all other relevant factors. The Court will look at the characteristics of the accused and the circumstances surrounding their crimes. They will weigh all of the aggravating and mitigating factors in the case to determine the most appropriate sentence.

The Criminal Code outlines various aggravating factors that if present, will warrant a more severe penalty for the accused. For example, the Court will consider the complexity, duration and magnitude of the fraudulent activity, whether the offender concealed or destroyed records relating to their fraudulent activity, whether the offender took advantage of a position of authority or trust, the number of victims, the personal characteristics of the victims, evidence that the offence was committed in furtherance of or to benefit a criminal organization and whether the accused’s fraudulent activity had a serious impact on the financial situation of the victim(s).

The Criminal Code also outlines a number of mitigating factors that the Court must consider when determining the appropriate sentence for an individual convicted of fraud. For example, the Court will consider whether the accused is a first time offender, the age of the accused, whether the accused has strong ties to the community, whether the accused voluntarily repaid the funds prior to sentencing, whether the accused had an honest motive like a health condition and whether the accused suffered a significant personal loss as a result of the offence such as the loss of a job or home. The presence of any of the factors may lead to the Court imposing a more lenient sentence.

Our Firm can assist you in presenting all possible mitigating factors in your case to ensure the Court settles on the most appropriate sentence based on all of the relevant factors.

Quick Facts

What is Fraud?

As outlined in section 380(1) of the Criminal Code, an individual is guilty of the offence of fraud when they intentionally, by falsehood, deceit or other fraudulent or dishonest means, defrauds the public or an individual of money, goods, services, securities or belongings.

What are the Penalties for Fraud?

Fraud is a serious offence and can lead to an accused being sentenced to a period of incarceration if they are convicted. Depending on the value of the fraud committed, the maximum penalty the accused may face ranges from two years to fourteen years’ imprisonment. In cases involving fraud valuing over one million dollars there is a mandatory minimum of two years’ imprisonment.

How to Drop Fraud Charges?

Whether or not an accused person will be able to have their fraud charge dropped will depend on a number of factors including the value of the fraud, the specific allegations being made and characteristics of the accused and the alleged victim(s). In some situations, the accused will be able to raise doubt regarding the identity of the fraudster. In other scenarios the accused may be able to argue that they lacked the necessary intent to be guilty of the offence.

What if the Fraud was Committed by an Employee?

Defrauding an employer is a serious offence and can have serious implications on an individual's life if they are found guilty. While there is no separate offence in the Criminal Code for defrauding an employer, the fact that the fraud occurred in an employment context will be an aggravating factor in the case which may lead to harsher sentencing upon conviction.

What if I was Tricked into Committing Fraud?

In many cases, fraudulent schemes involve multiple parties. In some circumstances, an accused person may have been tricked into participating in the fraudulent scheme, unaware that their actions were unlawful. In these situations, it is important to have experienced legal counsel to assist you in developing an appropriate strategy to achieve the best possible outcome.

Can you Destroy Fingerprints and Photographs for Fraud?

An individual who has been convicted of fraud will be unable to have their fingerprints, photographs or police records related to the arrest and conviction destroyed, unless they receive a record suspension. If, however, an individual was arrested for fraud but never convicted, it may be possible to have police records related to the arrest destroyed.

Can I keep my Fraud Charges Private?

In Canada, almost all court proceedings are open to the public. This means that when an individual has been charged and convicted of a crime, that conviction will become part of the public record. In some cases, police may even release information related to potential fraudsters, especially where there is concern about additional victims.

416-DEFENCE | 416-333-3623