Donich Law - Jordan Donich - Courtroom Sketch

Defend Fraud Charges

Legal Information on Demand:

  • Affordable

  • 6 Modules
  • 1 Hour of Video
  • 3.5 Hour Audiobook
  • 125 Pages
  • Instant Access

Our Experience

In June, 2020, the Firm resolved a $52,423.00 USD internal employee fraud without a criminal record after a Director of the business was allegedly divesting company funds to a shell organization in its R. v. S.G. [2020]. The sophisticated scheme involved the creation of a false company and invoices. The result took nearly 2 years to achieve. The accused thought he would be forgiven by his employer. He met with them, explained his story and reasons for the offence, only to be reported to law enforcement and arrested. The Firm was still able to achieve this result even with the confession.

In the Firm’s R. v. A.L [2017], It defended the accused who allegedly sold fake concert tickets on Kijiji. The accused was surprised because he was arrested several years after the offence. The young complainants bought the tickets, hoping to attend the concert. Law enforcement forensic banking unit traced the transaction to the accused’s bank account, arresting him several years later when he was established in his career. The accused was in a difficult place in his life at the time and made mistakes. He had since gotten his life together and was required to deal with his past. The Firm was able to challenge some of the evidence and secured a withdrawal of all charges.

As a major metropolitan area, Toronto experiences large volumes of fraud offences. The Toronto Police Service found that in 2021 alone, there were 10,361 reports of fraud in the city. To combat this volume and the variety in types of fraud, the TPS relies on the Financial Crimes Unit and has several procedures in place for residents to report suspected fraud.

In 2022, the Firm represented an individual charged with fraud over $5,000, identity fraud, possession, sale, etc., of identity documents and utter forged documents in R. v. R.A. [2022]. The accused was charged after using fake ID to attempt to cash a fraudulent money order valued at over $40,000.00 The accused had previously been arrested for a similar offence, further complicating the matter and the file was initially screened for a jail sentence. After one year of negotiations, the Firm secured the withdrawal of the three most serious offences, avoiding jail time for the accused.

We have defended complex internal fraud rings, such as sophisticated fraudulent TTC Metropass and Token schemes in its R. v. I.B. [2014] where all charges of fraud, uttering forged documents and possession of property obtained by crime were withdrawn. These police stings often involve elaborate searches and seizure of office computers, mobile devices and files. The accused was allegedly using fraudulent transit passes to gain access to the TTC. She was a student and purchased them from who she thought was a friend. Unfortunately the friend was not arrested and the accused had to deal with the full impact of the crime. The Firm was able to defer the blame to the other party, challenging the Crown case which resulted in the charges being dropped.

Punishments for Fraud Depend on the Value of the Property

Donich Law - Assault Punishments

The Firm secured a withdrawal of eight (8) charges of fraud related charges, attempt fraud and conspiracy charges in its R. v. K.L. [2015], where the accused was allegedly involved in a Staples and Target commercial fraud ring. Shoplifting can become addictive because of the thrill of stealing and quick financial gain. The Firm was able to challenge the Crown’s ability to prove the case because Target was leaving Canada. This meant it would have been harder for witnesses to attend trial and provide evidence. Procedural defences are an important strategy to defending cases where there is overwhelming evidence of a crime.

In May 2018, in the Firm’s R. v. Z.U. [2018], it stayed nine (9) fraud charges, including money laundering foreign proceeds of crime from the United States in an approximate $1 Million international Gold Bullion investigation. Money was allegedly being stolen from senior citizens and converted to gold bullion for cross-border transport and sale. There was some evidence implicating the accused in the scheme, however, it wasn’t entirely admissible which impacted the Crown’s case. The arresting officer tried to get a statement from the accused to complete the case, but was unsuccessful after the Firm was retained. Section 13 of the Charter gives the accused a right against self-incrimination.

How to Defend Fraud Under $5000

The Firm also secured a withdrawal of a $56,000.00 Royal Bank of Canada fraud in its R. v. A.N. [2013]. The accused from a small town in Ontario was alleged to have deposited a fraudulent bank draft issued by a publicly traded Canadian corporation. The accused’s bank account was frozen by law enforcement and assets seized. The Firm was able to establish that even though the accused temporarily had possession of the money, he was unaware the funds were stolen. All counts of fraud, uttering forged documents and possession of property obtained by crime were withdrawn. The Firm also recovered all frozen financial assets.

The Firm has extensive experience defending internal employee fraud allegations. In its R. v. S.C. [2015], the Firm resolved a $60,000.00 Home Sense fraud ring without a criminal record. The Firm defended two family members who were co-accused in the allegation. They were allegedly attending the cash register where another employee would pretend to scan several thousand dollars of merchandise without collecting payment. Over time loss prevention amassed a significant amount of video surveillance which was used to apprehend the accused(s), trace their license plates and execute a warrant.

Law Newbie is a free AI research assistant that can help you safely answer questions about criminal law.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Fraud?

Fraud is a criminal offence in Canada, dealt with under s. 380 of the Criminal Code. To commit fraud a person must knowingly trick or deceive another person into giving them money or other goods and services. For example, if Person A agrees to sell Person B a fully functioning car, but knows the car is missing several key parts and completes the sale anyway, that is an example of fraud. It is important to note that the law does not require the victim to realize that they are a victim of fraud for an offence to occur.

Another example of fraud can be found in the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Reid, 2021 ONCJ 149. That case concerned an offender who took their son’s place as driver of a vehicle following a collision. The son had been driving without a license. In the aftermath of the collision, the offender successfully sued their insurance company for injuries they claimed to have received from the collision. Receiving money from the insurance company as part of the lawsuit even though the offender’s claim was deliberately false was the fraudulent act in this case.

What is the Difference Between Fraud and Theft?

Theft is an offence under s. 322 of the Code. Unlike fraud, the act of theft does not primarily focus on knowingly deceiving or tricking someone into giving away their money or property. Instead, the offence of theft occurs when someone takes something that they have no right to own. It is the physical act of taking the property that constitutes theft and a theft is done when someone has the intent to steal something and begins to move it or causes it to become movable. Furthermore, a theft does not have to be done in secret to be considered a theft.

A theft can involve a thief taking something as simple as another person’s shoes or taking them and then wearing them themselves. A theft can cover a wide range of results. The offence can be established so long as a person takes something that they have no right to have and they either: intend to keep it from the true owner, even temporarily; use the stolen goods to acquire something else; give it to someone else without being able to get it back; or take the goods to permanently damage or destroy them.

Does Someone Have to Return the Money or Goods Received from Fraud if They are Convicted?

A person convicted of fraud in Toronto may have to relinquish any goods received from the fraud. The Crown may ask a judge to issue a forfeiture order to force the offender to give up any money or property they received as proceeds of their crime. This can be accomplished with an application made according to s. 462.37 of the Code. The property would then be sold, and the proceeds given to the victim or any person that has a legal interest in the property.

For example, the bank that issued a mortgage on a piece of real estate. If some proceeds of the crime are unrecoverable because they have been sold or are no longer in the possession of the offender or someone with knowledge of the crime, a judge may order the offender to pay a fine equal to the value of the missing goods. If an offender fails to repay such a fine, they will face an additional period of imprisonment.

An example of a forfeiture order can be found in the Ontario Court of Justice case of R. v. Cady, 2021 ONCJ 722. After the offender defrauded her employer out of over $1,000,000 by altering cheques and electronic funds transfers, a judge ordered the forfeiture of the goods bought with that money. They included 7 vehicles and one piece of land. The property was given to the Crown, with the mortgagor intitled to an amount from the sale of the seized land that satisfied the terms of the loan. The same consideration was made for a financing company that held a lease on one of the vehicles.

What are Restitution Orders in Toronto?

It is also possible for a court to order the offender to pay the victim of a fraud back the amount they had been defrauded directly using a restitution order. A restitution order can be made on the Crown’s request after they have consulted with the victim. If the victim wants to be compensated, a judge will make the order.

If a restitution order is made, a criminal court will not enforce it. If the offender does not pay, it will be the victim’s responsibility to take the matter to a civil court. In some cases, the victim may get a ruling from a civil court to garnish a portion of the offender’s future wages until restitution is paid in full. The standard of proof in a civil court is lower than a criminal court, so getting a civil ruling based on a previous criminal conviction is straightforward. It is important to know that the amount a person is seeking in restitution in Toronto, and Ontario generally, restricts which civil courts are open to them. Amounts under $35,000 are dealt with in Small Claims Court, and any amount greater than that are the jurisdiction of the Superior Court of Justice.

What if Someone Did Not Receive Money from Their Fraudulent Actions?

Even if a person does not receive any money from an attempted fraud, they may still be convicted for fraud. The Crown can establish an offence when a person has the necessary intent to commit fraud and engages in behaviour that subjects the victim to a risk of loss. For example, if an offender acquires a cheque from a victim and attempts to cash it at a bank but is stopped by a teller, that is sufficient risk to establish that fraud has occurred.

The Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench case of R. v. Baker, 1998 CanLII 13818 (SK KB) clearly establishes this requirement at paragraph 72, “In the end, as soon as a victim suffers a loss or some risk of loss or other prejudice to his/her economic interests by the fraudulent conduct of the accused, the offence of fraud is complete as long as the evidence establishes that the accused intentionally committed the conduct with an awareness of what he was doing and that a likely consequence of that would or could be deprivation.

Donich Law - In the News
Donich Law - In the News - Media Logos

Breakfast Television

Mental Health Concerns in the Justice System.

CP24

The Difference between Criminal and Civil Liability.

CTV News National

The Rise of Gun Violence in Toronto.

Global News

New Changes to Pardons in Canada.

Recent Cases

R. v. Theriault, 2022 NBQB 254

The New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench case of R. v. Theriault deals with a case where a fraud was committed even though the offender was entitled to some of the money. The case resulted in the offender being convicted of fraud over $5,000 and the facts focused on the offender’s son who was severely disabled and able to claim funding under New Brunswick’s disability support program. To get the maximum funding they felt their son needed; the offender falsified several documents to receive the maximum monthly funding possible over a period of nearly four years. The offender had several acquaintances sign forms stating they had provided care to the son, then the offender falsified the number of hours that care was provided for.

The offender was convicted for the offence, but the judge noted the exceptional circumstances of the case and genuine intentions of the offender in trying to provide for her son. Ultimately, the offender was released on an 18-month probation order and a mandatory mental health assessment. In determining an offence had occurred, the judge wrote, “The falsehoods she entered on these forms are inherently dishonest, despite any good intentions she may have regarding her son. When she obtained signatures on the billing forms, entered bogus hours, and signed off on the veracity of the information, she knew this was what would get her the money from the Province of New Brunswick the following month. It does not matter what her true intentions were or that in her mind she believed what she was doing was right or would result in no real financial loss to society.” [at para 55]

R. v. Langis, 2018 ONSC 7534

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice case of R. v. Langis resulted in the offender being convicted of fraud over $5,000. In this case the offender defrauded his employer out of about $80,000 over a ten-month period by manipulating accounting software and using a corporate credit card and falsified documents to purchase windows for their home.

There are certain factors that suggest some fraud offences are more serious than others. As in this case, some of the most important factors are where an offender abuses a position of trust and authority or victimizes a particularly vulnerable person. The judge identified these factors in this case, “Mr. Langis breached his position of trust as the restaurant manager as well as the personal trust that his employer, Jim Edwards, had reposed in him.

The timing of the offences is significant because they were committed at a time when Mr. Edwards had been diagnosed with stage four colon cancer and was unable to supervise or give attention to the day to day running of the restaurants. Mr. Edwards trusted that he could focus on his health issue and trusted that Mr. Langis would look after the businesses on his behalf.” [at para 40] As a result of these circumstances, the offender was sentenced to 14 months of imprisonment, and was subject to a $40,000 restitution order. An order was also made prohibiting the offender from holding any authority over valuable goods in an employment or volunteer context for the remainder of their life.

R. v. Reynolds, 2020 BCSC 732

The Supreme Court of British Columbia case of R. v. Reynolds concerned an offender who was convicted of fraud over $5,000 after evading income taxes and reporting false losses. Each criminal offence results in a sentence that is governed by certain principles. Among these are the fact that a sentence should take a strong stance against criminal behaviour and deter others from behaving similarly. As such, the Crown takes fraud offences involving tax evasion seriously because of the importance of tax revenue to the functioning of society. At the same time, fraud is a non-violent offence which can lead to offenders with no other criminal record being allowed to serve a conditional sentence of imprisonment. This was the sentence imposed here was conditional for two years less a day.

About the Author

Jordan Donich Profile Photo

Jordan Donich

Jordan Donich has been a Lawyer for over 10 years and is a trusted legal analyst by Canadian Media. He is as a leader in Canada’s tech sector for lawyers and developer of Law Newbie. Jordan is a Black Belt with the Japan Karate Association and trained in Krav Maga. He won a Gold Medal at 2004 Canadian National Championships and was published in the National Newspaper Awards.

Jordan has been featured in Forbes and is a member of DMZ Angels in Toronto.