A surprising number of criminal cases fall under the category of “fraud offences.” Generally speaking, fraud refers to acting dishonestly to try to wrongfully obtain something.
Under Canada law, the specific elements of fraud include:
- Using falsehoods, deceit, or other fraudulent means
- To defraud a person or the public of money, property, services, or valuable security
One important aspect of the law is that you can be charged and convicted of fraud whether or not you were able to successfully ascertain the money, property, services, or valuable security. An attempt to do so is enough to be arrested and face fraud charges.
Types of Fraud Crimes
Many, many different acts involve deceit to try to get money or something else from another party. This can include:
- Running a scam to try to steal someone’s identity
- Changing price tags on items at a retail store to pay less for something
- Signing a credit card contract or service agreement when you had no intention of paying
- Knowingly writing a bad cheque
- Embezzling money from an employer
- Altering a will to gain a larger inheritance
- Taking money from investors and never investing the money
There are numerous more offences that can be charged as fraud under the Canadian Criminal Code.
The severity of a fraud offence will usually depend on the value of what you are accused of trying to ascertain or successfully ascertaining. There are two main categories of fraud charges:
- Fraud under $5,000
- Fraud over $5,000
If you are charged with fraud under $5,000, the prosecutor can pursue charges as either a summary conviction or an indictable offence. This decision will depend on the specific circumstances involved and the extent of the fraud scheme. If the prosecutor pursues an indictable offence charge, you can face up to two years of imprisonment if convicted. If you are charged with fraud over $5,000, you will be charged with an indictable offence and can face up to 14 years of imprisonment if convicted. If the total value in question is over $1,000,000 (including one or multiple charges), there is a minimum sentence of two years in prison. There are other exceptions when fraud charges can be an indictable offence with a sentence up to 14 years, even if the value of the case was less than $5,000. These include:
- If the fraud involved a testamentary instrument (e.g. a will)
- If the fraud affected the public market of shares, stocks, or merchandise available to the public
Many people face fraud-related charges on a regular basis and these laws can be complicated. You should always seek help from an experienced Calgary criminal defence lawyer as soon as you can after an arrest or charge.
Contact an Alberta Criminal Defence Lawyer to Discuss Your Case Today
If you have been charged with a fraud offence or any other type of crime, please do not hesitate to consult with Bourdon Defence. Our criminal defence lawyers are ready to help, so call 403-474-4143 or contact us online today.