Have you been charged with shoplifting or stealing? Are you unsure of what will happen next?
If the answer is yes to either one of these questions you need to speak to a theft lawyer. You could be facing fines, possible jail times and a criminal record. Joseph Fera is a Guelph theft lawyer with extensive experience defending shoplifting and other criminal charges.
Fraud and white-collar crime charges are usually very complex matters involving experienced crown attorneys as well as voluminous disclosure. The police will often obtain judicial authorization for search warrants and production orders in fraud cases, which allow them to "follow the papertrail" as they investigate allegations of fraudulent behaviour. The client can expect hundreds of pages of disclosure in these types of cases, depending on the quantum of the fraud.
Put simply, fraud is the dishonest deprivation of something which belongs to another person. Fraud also includes the dishonest deprivation, by deceit, of something that another person was entitled to. Section 380 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canada states that "Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, defrauds the public or any person of any property, money or valuable security or any service" is guilty of fraud. Section 380 divides the definition of fraud into two categories, fraud as a result of deceit or falsehood, or fraud committed by other fraudulent means. Our courts have held that "other fraudulent means" constitute dishonest behaviour that causes deprivation, or the risk of deprivation. The crown is not required to prove actual financial loss to the victim as the provision also criminalizes conduct which causes a risk of prejudice to the economic interests of the victim.
Fraud over $5,000 is an indictable offence which carries a maximum punishment of fourteen years in prison. Fraud under $5,000 is a hybrid offence - if the crown proceeds summarily, the maximum punishment is a $5,000 fine and/or six months in jail. If the crown proceeds by indictment on a fraud under $5,000 charge, the maximum punishment two years in jail.