Fraud is a major category of property offences, and it covers a range of minor to major crimes. In Canada, it’s one of the most sternly prosecuted offences and, even for minor charges, a conviction carries dire lifelong consequences.
If you are facing criminal fraud charges in Toronto, it’s in your best interest to retain experienced criminal defence attorneys, such as Bytensky Shikhman Criminal Lawyers. They’ll meticulously review the criminal charges against you and devise a strong, effective defence to attain the best possible outcome per your case.
To understand fraud, let’s take a look at section 380(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada:
Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence 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.
As per the definition provided by the criminal code, for a crime to be termed as fraud, the accused must put the complainant at some risk of financial or other property loss. Also, the accused must have done so willingly and knowing that their actions will lead to some personal benefit on their end. It’s important to note that you can still be charged with fraud, even if your actions did not cause any loss to the complainant. What carries weight is your willful intent to defraud.
There are two categories of fraud offences, i.e., fraud over $5,000 and fraud under $5,000. Both classes have similar elements of fraud crimes. However, the monetary value of the property involved and the penalties upon the finding of guilt vary.
If you, or someone you know, are facing fraud charges, reach out to our Toronto criminal defence lawyers at 416-365-3151 for a free, no-obligation consultation.
In this type of fraud, the scammer, through an email, phone call, text or other means, asks the victim to make an upfront payment in return for getting them a loan, credit card, or access to credit. This is usually a lie, and if the victim falls for it and makes the payment, the scammer will disappear with their money.
Breach of trust involves a trustee taking advantage of their given position to defraud or try to defraud the person they owe their duty of confidence. The trusted party intentionally converts or diverts the property entrusted to them to unauthorized use. Persons in positions of trust include employees, employers, and charity workers.
This type of fraud involves phony fundraisers taking advantage of peoples’ good intentions to help those in need. The fraudsters pose as representatives of charitable organizations or pretend that they, or their family members, are very ill and require financial assistance to fund their medical care.
This type of fraud involves the use of a computer to obtain data, money or something else of value from a person, company, or government facility through unauthorized access. An example is when someone hacks into a company and transfers money from their accounts or steals valuable data.
One of the most common types of fraud is credit and debit card fraud. This involves the illegal acquisition of your card’s magnetic strip information and PIN. The fraudster uses the stolen data to duplicate your card and withdraw money from your account or uses it to shop.
Cross-border fraud encompasses any scam that reaches across Canadian national boundaries. In this type of fraud, scammers obtain items of value or money from persons outside their country through some form of scheme. One example is the romance scam, where the fraudster lures unsuspecting victims from other countries and finds a way to obtain money from them.
Embezzlement is a type of white-collar crime. In this form of fraud, the embezzler is entrusted with money or assets, which they then take, withhold, transfer, or use in an unauthorized manner. A good example is when an employee uses a company credit card for personal use.
Fraud is common at workplaces, and employees usually perpetrate it for personal gain. It’s a form of breach of trust and, therefore, a more serious criminal offence than usual fraud. Examples include trade secret theft, paycheck theft, ghost employee schemes, and embezzlement.
Investing in an already developed business is easier than building a business from scratch. However, some franchisors take advantage of franchisees and defraud them. This can happen through misrepresentation of profits, unlawful termination of a franchise agreement, breach of contract, falsifying product information, and excessive fees and costs, among other ways.
This type of fraud involves any intentional acts aimed at illegally procuring money or assets from the government. Scamming the government is a serious criminal offence, and the taxpayers are the ones who pay the price. For this reason, those convicted of swindling the government face the full wrath of the law.
It’s pretty difficult for anyone to say no to a surprise inheritance from ‘deceased relatives.’ This is why many people fall for scammers posing as attorneys searching for beneficiaries of their clients. The scammers ask victims to send money for the processing of the inheritance, among other fees. Anyone who asks you to send money to get money is a scammer.
Trading securities (bonds or shares) of an issuer while in possession of material, non-public information is referred to as insider trading. In other words, insiders (employees, executives, or lawyers) looking to profit from the company using confidential information can face fraud charges. A good example is an employee buying up shares after learning about a merger that has not yet been made public.
Insurance fraud is one of the most popular types of fraud in Canada. It involves meddling with an insurance process in order to obtain illegitimate benefits. Insurance fraud can be committed by a consumer, insurance company, or insurance agent. One example is when a homeowner or business owner burns down their property to collect insurance money.
Investment fraud encompasses a wide array of illegal acts employed by scammers to entice investors into making certain investment decisions that often result in losses. The scammers provide false or misleading information to investors or fabricated opportunities in real estate, commodities, bonds, or stocks. This is why it’s vital to do your homework before making any investments.
In this type of fraud, a fraudster uses a stolen identity to get a loan from lending agencies. This is made easy by the fact that most lending agencies/ payday loans require minimal information during the loan application process. If the identity thief manages to steal enough personal data, they can obtain larger loans, racking up enormous debts for the victims.
Some scammers try to reach their would-be victims via mail. Some frauds committed through mail include inheritance fraud, foreign money offers, mystery shopper scams, CRA scams, and lottery scams.
This involves intentional and substantial misrepresentation, omission, or misstatement of information in relation to a mortgage loan. This falsified information is used to influence a lender’s or bank’s decision to fund, purchase, or insure a loan. Mortgage fraud can be done by a borrower looking to acquire or maintain homeownership or by industry insiders looking to profit.
This type of fraud entails the misuse or theft of funds entrusted to you, either by a client or company, for personal benefit. Misappropriation of funds involves money only and not any other types of assets. For example, an accountant who diverts company money into his or her bank account has misappropriated the money.
Over the years, fraudsters have figured out ways to scam people over the phone. Some pretend to be law enforcement calling you over unpaid taxes, while others call to say that you have won the lottery and need to pay to receive your prize. There are many forms of phone scams, but all of them aim to either steal your identity or obtain money from you.
A Ponzi scheme is a type of fraud that lures investors by promising huge returns with low risks. In most Ponzi schemes, investors are led to believe that their money is invested in a business, while in reality, any returns paid to them are obtained from new investors. In other words, without new investors, the scheme collapses as there is no money to pay earlier investors.
Real estate fraud entails any devious acts perpetrated in relation to the sale, purchase, rent, or financing of a real estate property. This type of fraud can occur during appraisal, closing, foreclosure, renting, or when looking to move into a new house. One example of real estate fraud is when a real estate broker fails to disclose property defects to inflate its price.
Romance scams have become quite widespread in our society, especially with the increased social media use. The scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media apps and approach their targets to build a relationship with them over time. After trust develops, the scammer looks for a way to ask for money from the victim, and they keep doing so before you catch on to the scam.
Tax fraud occurs when an individual, company or corporation willfully and deliberately falsifies information on a tax return to obtain a tax benefit or evade tax obligations. Examples of tax fraud include underreporting taxable income, refund fraud, and underreporting workforce numbers.
White-collar fraud encompasses a wide range of fraudulent acts perpetrated by individuals, businesses, or government officials whose motivation is purely financial. These crimes do not involve any form of threat or application of force. Examples include Ponzi schemes, insider trading, counterfeiting, and embezzlement.
If you’re convicted of fraud in Canada, the penalties imposed are primarily dependent on the monetary value of the fraud, i.e., fraud over or under $5,000.
Fraud under $5,000 is a hybrid offence. This means that the Crown has the option to proceed by indictment or summary conviction.
As an indictable offence, fraud under $5,000 carries a maximum jail sentence of 2 years. As an offence punishable by summary conviction, it has a maximum of 6 months in jail and a fine of under $2,000. Most first offences for fraud under $5,000 are treated as summary offences.
Fraud involving over $5,000 is an indictable offence with a maximum jail sentence of 14 years. Fraud exceeding $1,000,000 has a 2-year mandatory minimum jail sentence.
With such severe sentences awaiting you upon conviction, it’s requisite to retain an experienced and knowledgeable criminal defence lawyer when charged with fraud. A lawyer can negotiate with the Crown, advise you on the available options, and build a strong defence to obtain the best possible results as per your case.
Fraud is one of the most sternly prosecuted criminal offences in Canada. As such, it’s imperative to have an expert lawyer by your side if you’re under investigation or charged with any category of fraud. At Bytensky Shikhman Criminal Defence firm, we have a proven track record of successfully defending clients facing fraud allegations in Toronto. With our sizeable and dedicated team, we can handle even the most complex fraud cases with utmost professionalism and meticulousness.
To learn more about how our firm can help you, please contact us at 416-365-3151 to schedule your consultation with one of our lawyers.