Fraud Over & Under $5000
Fraud over and fraud under charges vary in terms of penalty. Section 380(1)(a) of the Canadian Criminal Code sets out that Fraud over $5,000.00 is an indictable offence, punishable by up to fourteen years of imprisonment. Whereas, Fraud under $5000 per section 380(1)(b) sets out that Fraud under $5000 is a hybrid offence and can be prosecuted summarily or by indictment. If the crown elects to proceed by indictment, the accused is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years.
Fraud is often associated with white-collar crime. At our law firm, we see lots of frauds cases with individuals facing criminal charges that are law-abiding citizens with virtually no criminal history. If you are facing fraud charges in Ontario, Canada, you need a reputable and skilful fraud lawyer to fight your charges. Our law firm has handled hundreds of fraud cases and knows the law as it relates to these types of criminal charges. Fraud charges can be extremely damaging on a criminal record and can affect one's future in a number of ways. It can forever stain someone's credibility and a good defence lawyer should do whatever possible to avoid a criminal record for fraud charges.
There are a number of different types of fraud cases such as insurance fraud, Ponzi schemes, securities fraud, credit card fraud, mortgage fraud, real estate fraud, employment fraud, inheritance fraud, internet fraud, loan fraud, money laundering, identity theft, misappropriation, and the list goes on. If you are facing any number of fraud charges, you need a criminal lawyer that is knowledgeable when it comes to fraud law in order to argue the right fraud defence either at trial or through resolution discussions. Criminal law in the area of fraud can be significantly more complex than some other areas of law because of the technical nature of fraud and the bankers’ boxes of disclosure that often come with these cases. Just because you are charged with fraud does not make you a fraudster. Sometimes these situations arise, and the allegations are false, or the intent is missing. That is why you need an experienced fraud lawyer to fight your case.
Employer-employee fraud requires the Crown to prove the same elements of any fraud offence. The main difference is that the fraud takes place in a manner referred to as a breach of trust, and against a specific party—the employer. Fraud against an employer is a more serious offence than traditional fraud because of the employer-employee nexus and the element of distrust.
What Needs To Be Proven
To secure a conviction for general fraud, the crown must prove the following:
- a) There was a dishonest act, established by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means;
- b) That defrauded the public or any person of any property, money or valuable security or any services;
- c) The accused was aware he or she was engaging in a dishonest act; and
- d) He or she intended to commit that act.
The value of the fraudulent activity that is being alleged will likely make a big difference in how the Crown goes about prosecuting the case. It also affects how your case is treated under the Criminal Code of Canada. The Ontario Courts can come down hard on individuals charged with fraud depending on a number of factors, but can also be sympathetic. Some of the factors that would affect the Court's perspective of the case would be whether the offender abused someone under the age of 18 and was in a position of trust or authority. Other factors include whether the fraud had a significant impact on the victim, any violence used or threatened, gang activity, and the vulnerability of the victim, as well as planning and organization. The criminal record of the offender, if any, will also impact how courts handle the case. It is important that you discuss your entire background with your lawyer to properly assess your case. These factors, along with others, are relevant at every step of your case. They will affect your chances at negotiating a resolution with the Crown, or if your matter goes to trial, may affect the facts of your case and chances of raising a reasonable doubt and winning at trial. An experienced and knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer should be able to gauge your likelihood of success at a trial by looking at the evidence and law.
Some factors that are known as mitigating factors, and can help an offender, could include the voluntary repayment of restitution, honest motive, the impact of the offence on the offender, and the offender being an otherwise contributing member of society with strong ties to the community and a first-time offender. Your defence lawyer will likely bring up many factors about your character and background to help convince the crown to proceed in a favourable manner or help the judge impose a more lenient sentence should your matter make it to that stage. The circumstances of your life will be a major factor in these types of cases.
Fraud cases take the extensive experience to properly defend. This is because of the complexity involved in many fraud cases and that for the most part, fraud cases can vary significantly from one case to another. Some cases can be simple, such as writing a bad cheque, or identity theft while opening up an account. Other cases can be extremely complex, such as money laundering or securities fraud.
Regardless of the type of fraud charges, you need sound legal advice and your legal counsel must be well prepared for negotiations and trial to properly position yourself for the best chances of prevailing on each legal issue that arises. Our team understands the serious consequences that a criminal record involving fraud charges could entail and that is why we vigorously prepare for these cases to argue the case in the most effective manner either at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice (ONSC) or the Ontario Court of Justice (OCJ).
Let Us Defend Your Case
Fraud charges are considered a property offence and oftentimes an accused person faces multiple charges all at one time for conduct that sometimes takes place over a lengthy period of time. Anyone faced with fraud charges should consult with a criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Entering a guilty plea to fraud charges can have a profound impact on one’s life and could affect one’s work, reputation, family, travel, and immigration status. These crimes are seen as problematic because of the dishonesty involved.
In these cases, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the fraud occurred. They will likely rely on a heavy paper trail of documents along with witnesses and police officers. Criminal defence lawyers have experience in distinguishing which evidence is reliable and admissible, and what evidence should be excluded. By having evidence excluded, it can sometimes be detrimental to the Crown’s case, even to the point that the case is no longer worth prosecuting in some instances.
When you hire a skilful fraud lawyer, the playing field will become level against the Crown’s office in most cities. There may be a number of defences available to your case depending on the circumstances. One common defence is a lack of intent to defraud. Often times the individual charged is unaware that they are committing a fraudulent act. With that said, every case is different, therefore it is important to contact a lawyer to determine what defences may be available in your specific case.
Contact Bernstein Law Group
Call us at 905-546-1990 or email us if you have been charged with fraud in or around Hamilton and the rest of Southern Ontario. Fraud charges are very serious, with potentially severe penalties including lengthy jail sentences regardless of whether the Crown proceeds by summary conviction or as an indictable offence, if an election is warranted. These charges can often be resolved in a favourable manner such as by diversion through restitution, or fines depending on the gravity of the offence. If you or a loved one is facing some type of fraud charges, you need an experienced lawyer in your corner. Contact our office for a free consultation so that your rights are protected.
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