False Pretence

False Pretence

The offence of false pretence is outlined in section 362(1) of the Criminal Code.

A person commits the offence of false pretence when they:

  • obtain or deliver anything that does not belong to them using a false pretence;
  • when they obtain credit by a false pretence; or
  • when they knowingly make, directly or indirectly, a false statement in writing about their financial condition or ability to pay or any other person or organization’s financial condition or ability to pay to procure the delivery of:
  • personal property,
  • a payment,
  • a loan,
  • credit or a credit extension,
  • the discount of an account receivable, or
  • the making acceptance, discounting, or endorsement of any type of bill of exchange.

For the definition of ‘false pretence,’ click here or visit our definitions page.


Person A gives person B a cheque for payment for a vehicle person B is selling. Person A knows the cheque will bounce because there is no money in the account. Person A takes the car and does not answer person A’s calls when the cheque fails to clear.

Person F fills out a form indicating that their household income is over $100,000 a year to receive a loan from person G, but person F’s household income is truthfully less than $50,000 a year.


R. v. Nuosci, 1991 CanLII 7238 (ON CA)

In R. v. Nuosci, the accused was convicted of one count of false pretence for providing a photocopy of a falsified cheque to police officers as evidence that a politician he used to work for and now disliked with was corrupt.

Offence Specific Defence(s)

No Intention

Where the person making the misrepresentation does not do so intending to have another person act upon this representation and provide them or anyone else with anything, they may not have completed the offence of false pretence.

Truth or Genuine Belief

Where the person genuinely believes that the representation, they are making is true, they may not have completed the offence of false pretence.

Own Property

Where the person is using a false pretence to obtain or deliver something that does belong to them or that they genuinely believe belongs to them, they may not have completed the offence of false pretence.