FIRST OFFENDER? DEFEND FRAUD CHARGES IN GUELPH.  1-866-DEFENCE.

Fraud offences are very common in Guelph and all across Ontario. Being arrested and charged with a criminal offence can be a very upsetting experience for many people. This is especially true for otherwise law-abiding citizens who have made poor decisions and found themselves charged with an offence. Donich Law has experience defending individuals from all walks of life who have been charged with fraud. We have defended high value, complex fraud cases as well as first time offenders charged with fraud under $5,000.

In 2019, the Firm represented an individual accused of defrauding their employer of approximately $170,000 in R. v. O.I. [2019]. The Firm was able to resolve both criminal and civil proceedings related to the fraud, without a criminal conviction. In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with fraud in R. v. A.B. [2018]. In that case, the accused was alleged to have been selling counterfeit concert tickets online. After negotiations with the Crown, the Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of the charges.

In 2018, the Firm represented an individual charged with nine counts of fraud in R. v. Z.U. [2018]. In that case, the accused was alleged to have stolen money from senior citizens and then converted it into gold bullion to be shipped across the U.S. border. The investigation involved law enforcement officials from Canada and the U.S. After some litigation, the Firm was able to have all nine charges against the accused stayed.

In 2017, the Firm successfully resolved four counts of fraud in R. v. S.A. [2017]. In that case, the accused, a Canada Post employee, was alleged to have attempted to defraud a major bank of roughly $50,000. Later in 2017, the Firm represented an individual charged with fraud after allegedly falsifying a vulnerable section background check in R. v. S.D. [2017]. The Firm was able to secure the withdrawal of the charge after negotiating with the assigned Crown.

In 2015, the Firm represented an individual charged with fraud after allegedly participating in a commercial theft ring in R. v. K.L. [2015]. After some negotiations, the Firm was able to have the charges withdrawn. In 2014, the Firm represented an individual charged with fraud, possession of property obtained by crime and uttering forged documents in R. v. I.B. [2014]. The defendant was alleged to have participated in a complex scheme to defraud the TTC Metropass system. The Firm was ultimately able to have all of the charges against the accused withdrawn.

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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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fraud?
What is the Difference Between Theft and Fraud?
What is Insurance Benefits Fraud?
What is the Punishment for a Fraud Conviction in Guelph? 
How to Beat a Fraud Charge in Guelph?

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?

As indicated in section 380(1) of the Criminal Code, an individual has committed fraud when they, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, defrauds another person or the public of goods, services, money, security of belongings. Fraud offences are grouped into two categories based on the value of the fraud committed. Those who defraud a person or the public of an amount not exceeding $5,000 will be charged with fraud under $5,000. Those who have defrauded a person or the public of an amount exceeding $5,000 will be charged with fraud over $5,000.

What is the Difference Between Theft and Fraud?

Theft and fraud contain all of the same elements, with fraud containing one additional element. For both offences, the Crown must prove that the accused took something that did not belong to them from another individual with the intention of depriving that individual of it. With a fraud offence, the Crown must also prove that the accused took steps to cover up their wrongful actions.

What is Benefits Fraud?

Benefits fraud occurs when an individual fraudulently collects benefits to which they are not entitled. One of the most common examples of benefits fraud is when individuals abuse their employee health benefit plans. As a member of an employee insurance benefit plan, employees are entitled to be reimbursed by the insurance company for the cost of certain health and wellness services. However, if an employee were to falsify or exaggerate records to collect money from their insurance company that they were not lawfully entitled to, they are guilty of fraud.

In many cases, those accused of committing employee benefit fraud will face numerous negative consequences including criminal sanctions, civil penalties and loss of employment. Once an insurance company or employer suspects an employee has been defrauding the system, they will notify the accused individual and will request additional documentation. An investigation will be conducted, generally by the insurance company, and a determination made as to whether fraud has occurred.

If the insurance companies’ investigators determine that fraud has occurred, they may refer the matter to law enforcement to have charges laid against the accused. An insurance company may also sue the employee to get back the money that was taken. Further, in many cases the employer will terminate the employee as a result of the fraudulent activity.

What is the Punishment for a Fraud Conviction in Guelph?

Fraud related offences are very serious and those who are convicted will face serious criminal sanctions in Guelph. Due to the broad nature of fraud and the large spectrum of offences, sentences may vary significantly from one offender to the next. The severity of an offender’s sentence will depend on many different factors including the value of the fraud, the background and criminal history of the accused and any other mitigating or aggravating factors.

Fraud under $5,000 is a hybrid offence. This allows the Crown to make an election early on in the proceedings which will determine the cases path through the criminal justice system, as well as the maximum penalties that may be imposed on the accused. The Crown may elect to proceed by indictment or summarily. If the Crown proceeds summarily in a fraud under $5,000 case the accused will face up to two years less a day in prison, up to a $5,000 fine or both. If the Crown proceeds by indictment, the accused will face up to two years in prison.

Fraud over $5,000 is a straight indictable offence. This means the Crown has no power to elect and no power to influence the maximum penalty imposed on the accused upon conviction. An individual who is convicted of fraud over $5,000 will face a maximum of fourteen years in prison if they are convicted. Where the value of the fraud exceeds one million dollars, the accused will face a minimum of one year in prison.

In addition to the criminal sanctions that will result from a fraud conviction, such a conviction can also impact other aspects of an offender’s life. For example, having a fraud conviction on one’s record could make it difficult to gain and maintain employment. An individual being arrested charged with fraud may result in their termination from their current place of employment. Further, the majority of employers require a criminal background check be run on all prospective employees and often do not hire those with a criminal history. Travel outside of Canada can also become difficult with a criminal record for fraud. Many countries will not grant entry to those with a criminal history. This is especially true in the United States, where border agents routinely refuse entry to anyone with a criminal record.

How to Beat a Fraud Charge in Guelph?

The best defence for any fraud charge will depend largely on the allegations being made against the accused and the evidence in the possession of the Crown. To beat a fraud charge, the accused must be able to refute the evidence presented by the Crown. As a result, each defence must be uniquely tailored to the particular allegations being made. Two defences commonly used in fraud cases include arguing lack of intent and arguing that there was no realistic risk of loss to the complainant.

In some cases, it may be possible to argue that the accused lacked the necessary intent to be guilty of the offence. To gain a conviction for fraud the Crown must prove that the accused intended to defraud the complainant. If the offender was tricked into committing fraud by another fraudster or was genuinely unaware that they were engaged in criminal activity, this defence may be utilized. However, it must be noted that this defence will only successful in a narrow set of circumstances. Individuals cannot be reckless or willfully blind regarding the nature of their actions.

Another common charge used to defend fraud charges is arguing that there was no realistic risk of loss to the complainant. To gain a conviction, the Crown must prove that the accused caused loss to the complainant, or that there was a realistic risk of loss to the complainant. If the accused can prove that no realistic risk existed, the accused may be able to beat the charge.

If you have been charged with fraud Donich Law can assist you in developing a unique strategy to defend your case. We have experience defending individuals charged with various fraud charges from low value frauds to high value complex schemes and regularly obtain favourable results for our clients.

Quick Facts

What is Fraud?

An individual has committed the offence of fraud when they intentionally, by falsehood, deceit or other fraudulent means, or dishonest means, defrauds any individual, or the public, of money, services, securities, belongings or goods.

What is the Maximum Punishment for Fraud?

The maximum penalties for fraud range from two years less a day in prison, and/or a $5,000 fine, to up to fourteen years in prison in the most serious cases. Whether or not an individual will be sentenced to prison for a fraud offence will depend on a number of factors including the value of the fraud, the criminal history of the accused, and any other mitigating or aggravating factors in the case.

Will I go to Jail for Fraud?

In some cases, yes. An individual may be sentenced to 14 years in prison for the most serious fraud offences. Whether or not an individual will be sentenced to a period of incarceration for a fraud offence will depend on the value of the fraud, the personal and criminal history of the accused, the circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence, and any other relevant factors.

What is the Difference Between Fraud Over $5,000 and Fraud Under $5,000?

In Canada, fraud offences or grouped into two categories based on the value of the fraud. Where the value of the fraud does not exceed $5,000, an individual will be charged with fraud under $5,000. Where the value of the fraud does exceed $5,000, an individual will be charged with fraud over $5,000. The penalties for those convicted of fraud over $5000 are significantly more serious than the penalties for fraud under $5000.

What if I Defrauded my Employer?

An individual who defrauds their employer will be charged with fraud under $5000 or fraud over $5000, depending on the value of the fraudulent activity. While there is no separate Criminal Code offence for defrauding one's employer, this will be seen as an aggravating factor by the Court. Aggravating factors allow the Court to justify sentencing offenders to more severe penalties upon conviction.

What if I Committed Benefits Fraud?

An individual who commits benefits fraud will be charged with either fraud under $5000 or fraud over $5000, depending on the value of the fraudulent activity. An individual who commits benefit fraud may face criminal sanctions, civil penalties, and in most cases will lose their job. For professionals, such as doctors and dentists, committing benefit fraud can also have negative impacts on their license an ability to practice in their given profession.

What if Someone Tricked me Into Committing Fraud?

Fraud cases often involve multiple parties. In some cases, an accused person may have been tricked by another fraudster into committing fraud. He accused may have been unaware that what they were doing was illegal at the time. In these situations, it is important to have experienced legal counsel to assist you in developing it strategy to defend your case.

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