Fraud Charges

Fraud is considered to be a commercial crime. It effectively involves deception to secure a monetary gain that is unfair or unlawful, or to deprive a victim of a legal right.  According to Section 380(1) of the Criminal Code, fraud is committed when an individual by ‘deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means’ defrauds the public or an individual of any property, money or valuable security.  Intention to defraud is a key component of the crime.

To prove fraud, the Crown would have to show that both a dishonest act was committed and that there was a deprivation as a consequence.

Fraud is generally divided into two categories: Fraud over five thousand dollars, and fraud under five thousand dollars. Understandably, the penalties for the former are more significant than the latter.

Fraud Charges Sentencing

Fraud over 5k:

    • Where someone commits fraud with a monetary value over five thousand dollars, they may be found guilty of an indictable offence and may be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 14 years. If the total value of the subject matter exceeds one million dollars, the court will impose a minimum sentence of two years.

Fraud under 5k:

    • Fraud under five thousand dollars is a hybrid offence, meaning that the Crown may proceed by indictment or summarily. If by indictment, an accused may be liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding two years or to punishment by summary conviction.

White Collar Crime

There is no such offence as ‘white collar crime’ in the Criminal Code. Instead, white collar crime refers to a collection of different offences which are committed at the occupational and corporate level.  Some examples of white collar offences include: tax fraud, securities offences, corporate regulatory offences, corporate criminal liability etc.

    • While not defined in the Criminal Code such offences are, by their very nature, quite serious. Technically, fraud under five thousand dollars could also qualify as ‘white collar crime’ in certain circumstances.  But generally, such financial offences involve hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, and could carry prison terms of up to 14 years with potential mandatory minimum sentences if convicted.

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