Under Canadian law, criminal fraud is broadly defined as taking money, property, or services, by means of falsehood, deceit, or dishonesty. Related criminal charges include theft and embezzlement.
Fraud charges and convictions are serious business in Canada, and the criminal defence lawyers at Bourdon Defence may assist you with formulating good legal defences to your charge, obtaining a dismissal of your charge, or obtaining a favourable plea deal. They may also help you obtain a lighter penalty or sentence upon sustaining a fraud conviction.
Examples of Fraud in Canada
Fraud may be committed against individuals, organizations, or the government, and always involves a material misrepresentation and a scheme to defraud—all to secure some benefit at another’s expense. Common examples of fraud include:
- Mortgage fraud
- Wire fraud
- Tax fraud
- Bank fraud
- Computer crimes
- Identity crimes
Proving that someone has actually committed fraud is more difficult than showing simple dishonesty. Proof that the defendant exhibited the following can lead to a fraud charge or conviction:
- False statement of fact. The prosecution must show that the defendant made a deliberate and “factual” statement that was false. To be considered fraud, the false statement must also have a significant bearing on the situation or event in question.
- Knowledge of the truth. The prosecution must also prove that the defendant was aware that his false statement was, in fact, untrue when he made it. In cases where an individual or organization has a legal responsibility to know the facts, and by failing to do so relays false information, that individual or organization can be found guilty of a fraud crime.
- Intent to deceive. The prosecution must show that the defendant made conscious and deliberate use of a falsehood with the specific intent to deceive the potential fraud victim. The purpose of the deception must be for the defendant to deprive the victim of assets or legal rights.
- Victim’s reliance on the false statement. For deception to be considered fraud, the victim must have reasonably relied upon the false statement. This also means that the deceptive false statement must be believable.
- Damage to the alleged victim. The alleged victim must be deceived into giving up money, goods, or services. The defendant must have caused damage to the victim—and must have benefitted therefrom.
Common Defences Against Fraud Charges
Several legal defences are available to those who face criminal fraud charges. The most common defences are “lack of specific intent” and “mistake of fact.”
A prosecutor will have a difficult time proving specific intent in a fraud case since it is difficult to know exactly what is going through a particular defendant’s mind at any given time. Moreover, criminal defendants are sometimes unaware of certain pivotal facts and do not always know that they are even committing fraud in the first place.
Contact a Calgary Fraud Defence Lawyer Today for a Free Initial Consultation and Case Evaluation
If you face a fraud charge or conviction, it can seriously derail your life—you need legal representation. A criminal defence lawyer at Bourdon Defence can represent you throughout your case, from beginning to end. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation with a Calgary criminal defence lawyer, please call Bourdon Defence today at (403) 474-4143 or contact us online.