Lawyers To Defend Against Fraud Charges
Fraud charges is a serious matter. Fraud criminal lawyers defend clients, rightfully or not, accused of fraud. As detailed below, fraud takes on many forms. Certainly, you must deal with any accusation of fraud in a serious manner to avoid negative consequences. The fraud criminal lawyers at Kahane Law Office in Calgary, are here to help protect your rights and defend you.
What Is Criminal Fraud?
Fraud is similar to theft in that an offender takes someone else’s property without consent. However, what distinguishes fraud from theft is that the offender takes that property by way of a falsehood, deceit or fraudulent means.
Fraud Offences In The Criminal Code
The Crown can proceed in two ways on a charge of Fraud in the Criminal Code – either by indictment or by summary offence. Of note, if the Crown is proceeding by indictment, the accused is looking at either receiving jail time and or a criminal record. There also will be a restitution order, if convicted, that requires the accused to pay back any money that was fraudulently taken. Usually something is fraudulently taken if the person who took did not have “a colour of right” to take it. Fraud criminal lawyers put forward these, subtle and not, arguments.
Fraud and theft from an employer is prosecuted very seriously in Alberta and usually will result in a jail sentence and or a criminal record. This is because the accused has breached a position of trust that was given to them by their employer and the Courts have said that in order to deter and denunciate these types of crimes, the punishment must be more severe. The offences have different consequences associated with them so the distinction is important. The distinguishing factor is the value of the amount the offender defrauded someone of. The two types of fraud offences are:
Fraud As An Indictable Office
In cases where an offender is guilt of a fraud where the value defrauded exceeds $5000, the offence is considered an indictable offence. In this case the maximum sentence cannot exceed 14 years.
Fraud As A Summary Convection Offence
If the fraud that a person is convicted of involved an amount under $5000, then there is discretion to decide if the Crown will proceed against the offender as an indictable office or a summary conviction offence. The sentencing of a person convicted of fraud under $5000, that is an indictable offence cannot involve imprisonment that exceeds two years. If a summary conviction, then the sentence cannot involve a fine that exceeds $5000, imprisonment of more than 6 months or both.
What Is Considered In Sentencing
In Canada, the Criminal Code sets out specific factors that the court must look at. These factors act as “aggravating circumstances”. Aggravating circumstances are those that make the crime of fraud worse and the court then increases the sentence set for the accused. Aggravating circumstances include if the:
- duration, complexity, magnitude and degree of planning was significant;
- fraud adversely affected, or could have adversely affected, the Canadian financial system, economy or any finical market (or even the confidence Canadians have in those markets;
- charges stem from a large number of victims;
- fraud significantly impacted the victims;
- fraudster used their position in the community to commit the fraud;
- during the course of the fraud, the fraudster failed to meet licensing or professional standards;
- fraudster hid or destroyed documents related to the fraud.
Other Sentencing Provisions For Fraud Offences
There are other provisions in the Criminal Code as they relate to fraud. For instance,
The Criminal Code provides for a minimum punishment for certain frauds. Specifically, if a fraud involves an amount that is more than $1,000,000, the minimum sentence is imprisonment of two years.
Specific Types of Fraud
Please see below for the sentencing provisions as they relate to specific types of fraud. When you hire a fraud defence lawyer, they may look at negotiating or arguing against the specific nature of the fraud. This may allow for a summary conviction and/or a lesser sentence.
Other Types Of Fraud Charges
In addition to the regular fraud offence, there are other offences that are dependent on the specific type of fraud committed. There specific types of fraud, and there are more specifics than below, include:
In addition to the regular fraud offence, there is also mail fraud. If the fraud of someone includes utilizing the mail, then it usually proceeds as an indictable office. The amount of the fraud is not looked at so there is no option for a summary conviction. The maximum sentence of a mail fraud offence two years.
If an offender intentionally manipulated stock exchange transactions, then that offender is guilty of an indictable offence regardless of the value involved. The maximum sentence for stock manipulation is imprisonment for 10 years.
Anyone who is guilty of insider trading, again, regardless of the amount that they person benefited from, is guilty of an indictable offence and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years.
If a person tips off someone with knowledge that is not public so that the person so tipped is able to extract an advantage, the offence may be indictable, with imprisonment of no more than 5 years or punishable on summary conviction.
Fraudulent Sale Of Real Property
The fraudulent sale of real property (land) is treated as an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of 2 years.
Specific Fraudulent Activities
Several examples of activities that warrant fraud charges exist. For instance:
- Bank account fraud;
- Bankruptcy fraud;
- Credit and debit card fraud;
- Gambling fraud;
- Identity theft/fraud;
- Insurance fraud;
- Loan scams;
- Lottery scams;
- Medical scams;
- Online fraud;
- Ponzi schemes;
- Pyramid schemes
- Receipt fraud;
- Retail fraud (changing prices on items or fraud around the returning of item);
- Tax fraud; and
- Ticket scams.
How Fraud Criminal Lawyers Help
When acting for clients charged with fraud, our fraud criminal lawyers act in many ways. In some instances, the Crown is not able to support their case. We assess the likelihood of a successful prosecution based on the evidence that the Crown possesses. In these situations, we look to defend the charge on a “not guilty” basis. In some instances, we challenge the evidence put forward by the crown. Examples of this include when police violated a Charter Right, when evidence is only circumstantial or not directly tied to the accused.
Still other times, the best outcome is the successful negotiation of a fraud charge from an indictable offence to a summary conviction one. Lastly, there times exist where the Crown’s evidence clearly supports the Crown’s position of guilt. In these instances, the goal is the successful negotiation or arguments at sentencing for a more lenient sentencing.
Facing A Civil Lawsuit Also?
Often clients facing fraud charges also face a civil lawsuit for the fraud. Typically, this means that the alleged defrauded person seeks a monetary amount from the accused. Our litigation lawyers defend these types of lawsuits.
Goals Of Fraud Criminal Lawyers
Lastly, the goal of fraud criminal lawyers is sequential. Realistic goals stem from the exact nature of the crime, the evidence against the accused, the circumstances around the crime and other intervening, material facts. Above all, the goals, in order of priority, include:
- Dismissing of the charge
- A not guilty verdict
- Alternative Measures
- Avoiding a criminal record
- Avoiding fines
- Minimizing Fines
- Avoiding time in jail
- Community supervision order (CSO) (Formerly “house arrest”) vs jail
- Minimizing time in jail
Getting Help Contesting A Fraud Charge
If you or someone you know faces fraud charges, call us right away. This allows us to start working on the best defence that protects your rights and your future. Email is often the fastest way to reach us. However, you may call or email us at 403-225-8810 in Calgary, Alberta or email us directly here.