Fraud Lawyer Winnipeg
What is Fraud?
Fraud is the act of depriving someone of their property by using by deceit, falsehood or other dishonest means. This offence covers a very wide range of circumstances including identity fraud, credit card fraud, corporate fraud, insurance fraud, bank fraud, and fraud from an employer.
Regardless of the form of fraud you have been charged with, in order to be convicted the Crown needs to prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That the complainant owned something of value;
- That you deprived the complainant of that something of value or put the complainant at risk of losing that something of value;
- That you caused the deprivation by deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means; and,
- That you intended to defraud the complainant or had knowledge that your conduct could result in deprivation.
Sentencing for Fraud
Sentencing for fraud depends on many factors, such as the value of the amount defrauded, how the offence was committed and whom the offence was committed against. Fraud charges can be laid either as fraud over $5,000 or fraud under $5,000. For fraud under $5,000 the maximum length of jail varies between six months if the Crown prosecutes you summarily and two years if the Crown proceeds by indictment. Sometime this sentence can be served in the community under a Conditional Sentence Order (“House Arrest”). For fraud over $5,000, you face up to 14 years of jail. This sentence cannot be served in the community under a Conditional Sentence Order. If the fraud is over one million dollars, the court will imposes a minimum jail sentence of two years. Often the value of the amount defrauded is the determining factor for the court when considering if jail is required.
The sophistication of the fraud is another important factor in how the court determines the sentence. The greater the complexity and time required in planning, the greater the moral culpability and more sever your will be sentence. Concealing or destroying of evidence in an attempt to elude the police can also increase the severity of your sentence.
If you commit fraud while in a position a trust, the court will sentence you much more severely. Position of trust exist where you are given access or knowledge to procedures or property that allows you to more easily commit theft or fraud. Most positions of trust arise in employer-employee relationships. Due to the difficultly of detecting trust frauds, the frequency in which they occur, and the negative impact they have on businesses, the court will sentence even first time offenders to a period of jail.
Defending Fraud Charges
Whatever the circumstances of the offence, it is important to seek guidance from a criminal defence lawyer as soon as possible. I will thoroughly examine the evidence in your case to determine your jeopardy and identify possible defences.
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