The Criminal Code of Canada surprisingly does not define Fraud. Instead, it is defined through legal precedence which holds ultimately that “to defraud is to deprive by deceit, to deceive by falsehood to induce a state of mind or to defraud by deceit to induce a course of action”. The Criminal Courts’ have been loath to attempt anything in the nature of an exhaustive definition of “defraud” but one may safely say, that two elements are essential: dishonesty and deprivation. To be found guilty of Fraud, the intentional aspect is needed to be proved by the Crown beyond a reasonable doubt. The accused must have subjective knowledge of the prohibited act and also, subjective knowledge that the prohibited act could have as a consequence: the deprivation of another. Where the conduct and knowledge required by these definitions are established, the accused will be found guilty whether he actually intended the prohibited consequences or was reckless as to whether it would occur. There are numerous types of dishonest activities that can lead to fraud charges such as welfare fraud, corporate fraud, dishonest conduct in business that would cause a deprivation, securities fraud, banking fraud, real estate transaction fraud, mortgage fraud and investor fraud to name a few. Sometimes, fraud can occur when an accused is nearing bankruptcy and deploys his assets to relatives or friends or other clever maneuvers in such a way that creates what is known as a fraudulent conveyance.
The penalties for Fraud depend on whether the amount of the Fraud is over or under $5000.00. The sentence for Fraud Under $5000.00 can be as minimal as a discharge (which is not considered a criminal record) whereas Fraud Over $5000.00 is punishable to up to 14 years in prison. Also, large fines, restitution orders to victims and forfeiture orders are standard orders when one is convicted of Fraud related charges. Contact Avi Baratz for a free confidential consultation if you are under investigation or have been charged with Fraud or a fraud related offence.