What is Fraud?
Fraud is the deceitful taking of property or money of another person. If the value of the fraud is more than $5,000 it is an indictable offence, with a maximum sentence of fourteen years. Otherwise it is a hybrid offence. Fraud can take many forms, including social benefits fraud, health insurance fraud, automobile insurance fraud, or other forms of misrepresentation. At its core, an allegation of fraud is that a person somehow misrepresented themselves or their actions and thereby benefitted from another’s loss.
What is the Penalty for Fraud? Is there Jail Time?
Like most sentences, a sentence for fraud depends on the circumstances of the offence and the degree of responsibility or moral blameworthiness of the guilty person. Sentences range from a discharge in some circumstances to very long jail sentences in other circumstances. Cases where the accused person has taken advantage of vulnerable persons are treated with particular concern by the courts.
What happens if you're charged with Fraud?
Depending on the seriousness of the offence and the circumstances of the case, the police may release you from the station or may hold you for a bail hearing. If you are held for bail, they will advise you so that you may make arrangements to contact a lawyer and assist you in contacting your friends or family to act as sureties for your bail. You have a right to be brought before a Justice or Judge within a reasonable time, but in any event within 24 hours of your arrest.
At your bail hearing, your lawyer and the Crown will argue about whether you should be released from custody and, if so, what reasonable terms of bail should be imposed. Any person charged with a crime has a right to a reasonable bail.
Contact our office if a friend or family member has been charged with an offence, or if they are being held for bail.
Why shouldn't I just plead guilty to Fraud?
Only a careful review of your matter can give you the advice you need to make crucial decisions on your case and your life. A careful review may reveal gaps or problems with the Crown’s case. Contact experienced trial counsel before deciding to plead guilty.
First Time Fraud Charges
The criminal justice system often recognizes that people make mistakes. Some mistakes are bigger than others. People charged with offences, including Fraud, for the first time are usually treated somewhat differently from people with long criminal records. Experienced counsel can assist in obtaining great results for first time charges. This may include diversion before trial or favourable plea agreements. Contact our office to discuss your case and what to expect.
380 (1) Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service,
(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding fourteen years, where the subject-matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument or the value of the subject-matter of the offence exceeds five thousand dollars; or
(b) is guilty
(i) of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years, or
(ii) of an offence punishable on summary conviction,
where the value of the subject-matter of the offence does not exceed five thousand dollars.
Marginal note:Minimum punishment
(1.1) When a person is prosecuted on indictment and convicted of one or more offences referred to in subsection (1), the court that imposes the sentence shall impose a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years if the total value of the subject-matter of the offences exceeds one million dollars.
Marginal note:Affecting public market
(2) Every one who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, with intent to defraud, affects the public market price of stocks, shares, merchandise or anything that is offered for sale to the public is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.