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What is Fraud and What are the Associated Penalties?

Committing any type of fraud can have serious consequences including significant criminal penalties under the Criminal Code of Canada. The Crown can choose to either proceed summarily (less serious offence) or by indictment (a more serious offence) for the offence of fraud. You should know whether you are charged with fraud under $5,000 or over $5,000 as this makes a difference with respect to what type of penalty is imposed upon a conviction. The more serious cases certainly attract the possibility of jail time.

What happens after a Fraud Conviction?

Being convicted of the criminal offence of fraud can have serious effects for your future employment, immigration status (for non-Canadian citizens), family, community reputation, volunteer opportunities and most concerning, freedom. A conviction means you are left with a criminal record. As you might already be aware, a great deal of jobs these days requires a criminal record check. The type of employment you seek may be limiting after having a criminal conviction of fraud. This is particularly so because fraud can be interpreted as a crime of dishonesty. This would concern employers and understandably so.

So What is Fraud?

Fraud can be explained as an intentional deception for a financial or personal gain, which results in some form of injury either to a person or an entity. Fraud is a serious white-collar crime and has harsh penalties.

The particular circumstances of a case will have an impact on the manner in which the Crown deals with the case. For instance, whether there are any aggravating factors and/or the extent of injuries caused by the fraud will play a role in how the Crown proceeds with the case. In other words, will the Crown proceed summarily or by indictment? The former will have less harsher penalties than the latter.

As mentioned above, your charge can be one of fraud under $5,000 or fraud over $5,000. These are the two categories that any type of fraud can fall under. Fraud under $5,000 is a hybrid offence, which means that the Crown has the discretion to decide if the matter should proceed summarily or by indictment. Conversely, fraud over $5000 is strictly an indictable offence. This category carries significantly heftier penalties including imprisonment. Below are the various forms that the criminal offence of fraud can take place.

Types of Fraud

There are many types of fraud including but not limited to:

  • Credit Card Fraud
  • Health Care Fraud
  • Internet Fraud
  • Mail Fraud
  • Securities Fraud
  • Insurance Fraud
  • Identity Fraud
  • Public Assistance Fraud

It is important to keep in mind that the nature of the criminal offence can overlap with other types of fraud thereby causing additional criminal charges. It is critical that you seriously consider hiring a criminal defence lawyer to fight for your case.

An experienced lawyer has the ability to illustrate that the Crown has a weak case against you or raise a doubt as to the strength of the case. The burden is on the Crown to prove its case against you beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a high threshold to meet. Each of the types of fraud listed above has elements that must be independently proven by the Crown. By discussing the case with you in depth and hearing your version of events, we seek to resolve your case outside of the court process. What this means is that with a lawyer, you may be able to have your case resolved in such away that leaves you with no criminal record. We explain all the potential outcomes in your matter in detail and help you make informed decisions.

Let the Aitken Robertson Team Go to Work For You

Fraud is one of the more complicated types of criminal offences, involving a great deal of legal intricacies. That is what lawyers are for. They are trained to address such intricate criminal cases. Addressing your charge(s) at the earliest opportunity is of critical importance. This is especially so as the details are fresh in your mind.

At Aitken Robertson, our lawyers have tackled a wide range of fraud cases and are prepared to handle your case. We understand the difference between an honest mistake and a deliberate act. We understand the complexities of successfully defending fraud related charges. A conviction on a fraud charge can turn your life upside down. It is important that you appreciate that hiring a criminal defence lawyer can make the difference of avoiding jail, criminal record and a deportation if you are not a Canadian citizen. Our goal is to assist you with understanding the case you are facing. It is advised that you do not speak to the authorities without the presence of your lawyer.

Yasmine Al-Zaman

Yasmine’s patience, compassion and understanding allow her to work collaboratively and effectively with her clients. She appreciates the level of fear and confusion most people feel when confronted with the legal system. With that in mind, Yasmine puts her best foot forward to offer quality legal services.

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