Montreal Fraud & Financial Offences Lawyer
What Is Fraud?
Fraud (section 380(1) of the criminal code) is a financial crime that involves the intentional deprivation of a person’s (or organization’s) finances through deceit, falsehood or fraudulent means. Given its expansive description, it’s often a catch-all for white collar crime like tax evasion and embezzlement.
What Other Financial Crimes Are There?
First and foremost, the crime of fraud is divided into two distinct categories: Fraud over $5,000 and Fraud under $5,000. Additionally, there are all sorts of other financial crimes that the Criminal Code explicitly prohibits, like forgery and identity theft.
The Consequences Of Being Convicted Of Fraud?
In cases of fraud over $5,000, the maximum sentence is 14 years incarceration, removing lenient sentences like discharges from the equation entirely. While a prison sentence is usually sought, restitution can be used as a means of avoiding such an outcome. However, in the case of million dollar frauds, there is a 2 year mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment. When it comes to fraud under $5,000, more lenient sentences (like house arrest or probation) are far from uncommon.
What Defences Are Available For Fraud?
Fraud is a specific intent offence, meaning that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intended to deprive the victim of their finances. In other words, poor business decisions or miscommunications are not fraud. Therefore, a defence to fraud is that you never intended for such a deprivation to occur. Another possible defence is that you did not deprive them of their money through deceit or falsehood (in other words, the alleged victim knew what they were getting into and chose to take a risk despite your honest representations about the possible outcomes).
I’ve Been Charged With Fraud - Now What?
- If you’ve been charged with fraud, it’s absolutely vital that you exercise your right to counsel immediately. You should further invoke your right to remain silent and refuse to answer any questions. It is highly likely that the state will have forensic accounting reports and/or thorough knowledge of your financial transactions so it's absolutely vital that you have copies of all pertinent documents, transactions, and receipts, and can provide explanations for each.
- If you’re being investigated for a financial crime, have been criminal charged or just have questions about your rights and obligations under the law, contact S. Zalman Haouzi Avocat today for a consultation!