Fraud Charges - Lawyer

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What Is Fraud?

Fraud is a serious criminal offence. If you are charged with fraud, it’s essential to know what it entails and its impact on your life.

According to section 380 of the Canadian Criminal Code, fraud is perpetrated when an individual, “by deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretense within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service.”

In other words, fraud is when anyone, through inequitable means, deprives another person of their property.

Fraud Charges

There are two categories of criminal fraud charges;

  • Fraud over $5000 – any fraud charge involving a property valued at over $5,000 is an indictable offence, carrying a maximum of 14 years in prison.
  • Fraud under $5000any fraud offence valued at under $5,000 is a hybrid offence. This means that as per the offence, the Crown can proceed by indictment. As an indictable offence, a conviction carries a maximum of 2 years in prison. As a summary conviction, fraud under has a maximum of 6 months in jail.

Criminal fraud charges can lead to severe long-term consequences upon conviction, including loss of employment, hefty penalties, and possible imprisonment. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to retain a criminal defence lawyer from Zamani Law criminal law firm, with vast experience in white collar crime and fraud cases, to protect your rights and fight the criminal fraud charges against you.

About Zamani Law

Zamani Law is a premier criminal defence firm that has been defending persons facing criminal fraud charges. We have vast experience and expertise in white collar crime and fraud offences, enabling us to handle any minor or major fraud charges.

Our team of Toronto fraud lawyer, paralegals, and other legal professionals review the case build by the Crown, noting every weakness and strength. This helps us build a strong defence and get as much evidence excluded from the case, alleviating the charges against you or getting them dropped. Our team of criminal lawyers is tenacious and aggressive in superior court, and they’ll fight to attain the most favourable outcome.

Types of Fraud

As noted earlier, fraud is broadly categorized into two, i.e., offences under $5,000 and offences over $5,000. However, there are many types of fraud, and at Zamani Law, we have the experience, expertise, and resources to deal with any of them.

Some of them include:

  • Advance fee loans schemes
  • Breach of trust
  • Charity fraud
  • Corporate fraud
  • Computer fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Cross-border fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Employer-employee fraud
  • Franchise fraud
  • Fraud on government
  • Inheritance fraud
  • Insider trading
  • Insurance fraud
  • Internet fraud
  • Investment fraud
  • Loan fraud
  • Mail fraud
  • Mortgage fraud
  • Misappropriation of funds
  • Phone scams
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Real estate fraud
  • Romance fraud
  • Tax fraud
  • White-collar fraud

This list is not comprehensive of all fraud allegations one can face in Canada. For more information on tax fraud, insurance fraud, bank account and credit card fraud, mortgage fraud and related offences, please contact us.

Proving Fraud Charges

The burden of proof lies with the Crown Prosecutors, as they’re the ones building a case against the accused party. As the defence, we scrutinize any evidence provided and contend its admissibility pursuant to the Canada Evidence Act.

For the Crown to prove fraud charges and get a conviction, they must prove the following, beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • The identity of the accused
  • That the accused intended to commit the act
  • That the accused deprived the complainant of something of value or put them at risk of losing something of value
  • That the loss resulted from deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means
  • The date, time, and place that the fraud occurred

FRAUD & FALSE PRETENSES ARE COVERED UNDER  S.380 OF THE CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA

Fraud offences are divided into 2 categories

1. Fraud over $5,000

Fraud over $5,000 is an indictable offence with a maximum penalty of 14 years.

2. Fraud under $5000

The Crown has a choice as to whether they wish to proceed by indictment.

  • By indictment, the penalty maximum sentence is 2 years.
  • By summary conviction, the maximum sentence is 6 months.

The fraud must be accomplished by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means. This means that the accused must have an intent to defraud to attract criminal responsibility.

The victim does not have to actually suffer economic loss. There must at the very least be a risk of prejudice to economic interest.

Fraud charges can range from a simple transfer of price tags to major credit card and mortgage transactions, etc., involving millions of dollars.

At Zamani Law, we have had extensive experience in defending both major and minor scale fraud charges. Our fraud lawyer in Toronto takes advantage of every loophole and weakness in the Crown’s case. Farid Zamani, a criminal lawyer, will put the Crown to the strict proof of each and every piece of evidence. 

We will have evidence excluded that is not properly presented to the Ontario court. The onus is on the Crown to prove the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. We do not have to prove innocence.

RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT (POLICE INVESTIGATIONS)

In almost every case, it is vital that the accused exercise his right to remain silent. You do not need to assist the police in any way, and your own words may ultimately be used against you in court. Do not try to outsmart the police. Remaining silent does not imply guilt. It is your right. Lying to the police is a criminal offence. You do not have to answer any questions.
Note: The police are entitled to lie to you in order to induce a statement. If you are being investigated with respect to a fraud allegation, speak to a criminal lawyer prior to any dealings with the police.

POSSIBLE PENALTIES FOR FRAUD:

  1. Jail
  2. Conditional sentence (jail term served in the community)
  3. Fine
  4. Suspended sentence with probation
  5. Conditional discharge (probation with no conviction)
  6. Absolute discharge
  7. Diversion
  8. Criminal record
  9. Travel restrictions
  10. Credit rating
  11.  Immigration issues
  12. Employment issues
  13. Reputation

A conviction for Fraud causes serious problems because it is considered a crime of dishonesty. By choosing an experienced criminal lawyer from day one, all types of possible penalties can be avoided down the road, and your chances for success increase exponentially!

FACTORS THAT IMPACT PENALTY:

  1. The amount of fraud
  2. The degree of sophistication and planning
  3.  Did the fraud involve a breach of trust
  4. The history of the accused (prior record, age, etc.)
  5. Reasons for the fraud (e.g. gambling addiction)
  6. Has restitution been made, or is it possible
  7. The number of victims
  8. Vulnerability of the victims

AGGRAVATING FACTORS S. 380.1 CRIMINAL CODE OF CANADA

The Criminal Code has provided a non-exhaustive list of factors that are to be considered by the courts as aggravating with respect to the issue of sentencing.

PLEA BARGAINING, REDUCED CHARGES, WITHDRAWAL OF CHARGES

Many fraud prosecutions have a complicated paper trail which can make it very difficult for the Crown to prove. In addition, the amount of court time required to prove the case can be lengthy. These factors encourage the Crown prosecutors to pursue possible resolution. If restitution can be made, a complete withdrawal of the charge can, in some instances, be negotiated with the Crown.

FAQs

What if I pay back the money?

As an offender, paying the victim back can result in a more favourable outcome during sentencing or withdrawal of fraud charges by the Crown. However, you should consult with your criminal defence lawyer before making such payment to ensure that a good deal is made with the prosecutor.

What is restitution?

Restitution is the payment made by the accused to recompense for the losses incurred due to their fraudulent acts. This can be made willingly during restitution, which plays a vital role in avoiding a conviction or severe penalties or by order from a judge as part of the sentence.

What are the sentences for fraud Over $5000?

According to section 380(1)(a) of the Canadian Criminal Code, fraud over $5,000 is an indictable offence with a maximum sentence of 14 years in jail upon conviction. If the fraud committed exceeds $1 million, there’s a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison. However, an experienced fraud lawyer will help you understand your charges and will represent your rights during court proceedings.

What are the sentences for fraud Under $5000?

As per the Canadian Criminal Code Section 380(1) (b), fraud under $5,000 is a hybrid offence. This means that it can be prosecuted as an indictable offence, which carries a maximum of 2 years in jail with a penalty of up to 6 months in prison.

What is the maximum penalty for fraud under $5,000?

Fraud under $5,000 carries a maximum sentence of up to 2 years in prison for an indictable offence.

What is insurance fraud?

Insurance fraud is an offence intentionally committed to defraud an insurance company. This occurs when a claimant attempts to obtain some benefit they’re not entitled to or exaggerates on an insurance claim they’re entitled to. Examples include exaggerating an injury claim or willfully damaging your property to collect on the insurance payment.

Will a fraud conviction stop me from travelling to the United States?

The United States classifies fraud as a crime of moral turpitude, and a conviction bars you from entering the country.

What is the maximum penalty for fraud over $5000?

Fraud over $5,000 is an indictable offence carrying a maximum jail sentence of up to 14 years.

Is fraud a crime of moral turpitude?

Yes. Fraud is a crime of moral turpitude. These are crimes that “shock the public conscience.” In other words, crimes of moral turpitude are offences that are extremely contrary to the norm of society. Such crimes include murder, robbery, aggravated assault, kidnapping, sexual assault, theft, extortion, and fraud.

What if I didn’t know I was part of a fraud crime?

For a successful conviction, the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally committed fraud or tried to commit fraud.

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