Calgary's Top Fraud Defence Lawyers
Peter Hoare and Ryan Claxton are Calgary-based lawyers who have successfully defended thousands of Fraud cases across Western Canada. A indictment for fraud, even of a small sum, can have far-ranging negative consequences on your life. Fraud is considered a “crime of dishonesty” and a conviction will therefore affect both your personal and professional reputation. Call Hoare Claxton, we have the legal experience you can trust for a thorough defence.
What is Fraud?
A Fraud takes place when a person or persons acquire something of value- usually money or property- from a victim by intentionally acting dishonestly. Fraud can occur in a variety of transactions:
- the buying or selling of property (particularly real estate and stocks)
- in falsifying documents such as taxes or expense claims or
- the management of a firm modifying a ledger to demonstrate larger profits in order to earn a bonus
- the copying and/ or unauthorized use of credit cards
- fraud can also take less sophisticated forms such as switching the price tag on two items or spending money the bank has accidently placed into your account
Crown counsel will often lay additional charges alongside Fraud, such as Forgery or Uttering Forged Documents, Breach of Trust, Credit Card Theft or Theft. However these charges can often be difficult for the Crown Counsel to prove in court.
The Criminal Code of Canada Definition of Fraud
Section 380 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines fraud. This section creates two possible charges:
Fraud over $5000 or involving a testamentary instrument* and
Fraud under $5000
*A testamentary instrument is defined as either a will or a legal trust which an individual has set up so that his/her assets will be given to designated parties once he or she has died.
The Criminal Code of Canada sentencing guidelines for this type of offence are very broad. Often, effective legal representation can result in no criminal record. Conversely, a community based sentence (such as diversion to the Alternative Measures Program- AMP) may be achieved even where the Crown Counsel is requesting a jail term.
What is a Breach of Trust In Canada?
Breach of trust fraud most often occurs in the context of an employer/employee relationship or another relationship of trust between parties. It is an aggravating feature of fraud when the defendant was in a position of responsibility or trust in respect to the victim. Again examples of breach trust situations involve retail cashiers or supervisors, accountants, and public sector employees.
What are possible sentences for Fraud Over $5000 and Fraud Under $5000?
The maximum sentence for fraud over $5000.00 is found in the Criminal Code of Canada, at section 380.(1), any person who is found guilty of this offence is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to fourteen years.
Within the Criminal Code of Canada, section 380(1)(b), any person who is found guilty of fraud under $5000 is guilty of an indictable offense that is punishable by a term of imprisonment up to two years, or in less serious cases, by an offense punishable on summary conviction.
What are my Options if I’ve been charged with Fraud?
Contact Hoare Claxton for a free consultation, our team can determine what defences are available to you. We will determine strength of the charges against you; were there any witnesses to the alleged fraud and/or did you have any intent to defraud, or were there factors than can be used in a sentence reduction such as a gambling addiction?
The legal team at Hoare Claxton has helped many persons charged with fraud over $5000 & fraud under $5000 throughout Alberta and Western Canada. Our initial consultation is always free of charge.
What if I admit the fraud to my employer & return the money/ property, can I still be charged?
During a criminal investigation, our clients often ask about the probability of charges being dropped if they were to return whatever was taken. However neither the police nor third party investigators have any power to dismiss your charges once you are “in the judicial system.” The matter is in the hands of the Crown counsel. Know your rights and consult a criminal defence lawyer from Hoare Claxton if you are under investigation.