What is fraud?
Fraud encompasses a very broad spectrum of criminal activity under Canadian criminal law and can carry severe penalties, depending on the type of fraud and level of sophistication alleged. Findings of guilt for these types of offences also have serious implications on a person’s future including employment.
Section 380(1) of the Criminal Code has two parts: 1) a prohibited act of “deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means”; and 2) that this act deprives the public or specific person of “any property, money or valuable security, or any service.”
Most cases of criminal fraud are addressed by section 380(1) of the Criminal Code. Other forms of fraud are addressed by other sections of the Criminal Code or by other Acts. For example, credit card fraud charges are often brought under section 342, while tax fraud charges can be laid under Section 239 of the Income Tax Act.
What types of fraud are there?
Common forms of fraud include:
• Tax fraud;
• Bank fraud;
• Internet fraud;
• Medical fraud;
• Insurance fraud;
• Credit card fraud; and
• Identity theft fraud.
What are the penalties for fraud?
There are two different offences for fraud – Fraud over $5,000.00 and Fraud under $5,000.00. The penalties for each offence vary greatly. Property values greater than $5,000.00 can result in a maximum prison sentence of up to 14 years. If the property value exceeds $1 million, the minimum sentence is two years imprisonment. Fraud involving property valued at less than $5,000.00 can result in a maximum prison sentence of two years.
During a sentencing hearing, the judge would look at a number of factors (mitigating and aggravating) in determining a fit sentence. These factors include:
• Number of victims;
• Impact to the victim(s);
• The complexity and degree of planning the offender took to perpetuate the fraud;
• Degree to which the offender took advantage of their position within the community;
• Criminal record, including any related offences; and
• Whether restitution has been made or attempts of restitution have been made.
I have been charged with fraud. What should I do?
Fraud offences are complex since they vary in sophistication and different types of fraud. If you have been charged with a fraud offence, call the experienced lawyers of Lockyer Zaduk Zeeh. Our lawyers have represented people charged with fraud offences in all courthouses across Ontario, such as Newmarket, Bradford, Barrie, Collingwood, Midland, Bracebridge, and Parry Sound. If you or someone you know needs representation for fraud charges, please give us a call at 416-613-0416 to set up a consultation with one of our criminal lawyers.