Case Study: Uttering Forged Documents, Fraud under $5,000, and Breach of Trust
Mr. B was employed in a municipal department for the last 30 years. At the time when he was charged and removed from service – he held a senior executive position. Considering Mr. B’s seniority – he was issued a corporate credit card to make emergency purchases for his workplace. It was alleged that Mr. B used the credit card seventeen times to make personal purchases and then submitted forged receipts to conceal those purchases.
Mr. B was further charged with the offence of breach of trust, which mandates a harsher sentencing range for senior public officials in comparison to an ordinary person in case of a criminal conviction.
The accused committed the offence of fraud under $5,000 and uttering forged documents seventeen times over approximately five years while being at a senior executive position in the government, which led to another charge of breach of trust.
The Crown considered the offence egregious due to multiple counts and breach of trust. In light of the contemporary case law where an accused was usually jailed for similar set of facts, the Crown sought custodial incarceration.
The client indicated his intention not to proceed to a trial at the initial consultation, which left Mr. Aitken with relatively less maneuverability. Therefore, our goal was to resolve the case early and get the best resolution offer for Mr. B.
As the client did not want a trial, we were precluded from arguing that the charges were meritless. Instead, we looked into Mr. B’s background and identified his exceptional bouts of performance at the workplace and a lack of criminal record. We elaborated these points further and supplemented them with the consequences the criminal charges had and will have on Mr. B.
We calculated Mr. B’s loss in income and pension for the future 20 years to calculate the economic impact of the proceedings. Further, we highlighted Mr. B’s predicted inability to get hired at a similar position.
At the sentencing hearing, Mr. Aitken successfully built and impressed on the judge that Mr. B’s criminal behaviour was a one-off event triggered by his inability to cope with workplace pressures. Otherwise, Mr. B had significant support from people known to him due to the value he adds to his family, workplace and community. Mr. Aitken successfully conveyed the narrative that Mr. B had already suffered profoundly. The criminal charges were sufficient to have a deterrent impact on him, and a custodial sentence was unnecessary.
It is also fair to note that our client deserved a great deal of the credit for the generous sentence he received, as he had done a couple of hundred hours community service up front, and had taken counseling to prevent recidivism.
The sentencing judge convicted Mr. B to a 12-month sentence to be served in the community, i.e., in his house, followed by a period of probation. We prevented a custodial disposition for Mr. B.