What is Fraud?
Fraud occurs when you deprive the public, another person or persons, through deceit or other fraudulent means, of money, property, valuable security or any service. The Crown Attorney will have to prove that you had subjective knowledge that your actions could deprive the person or the public of money, property, valuable security or any service. If you are charged with fraud over $5,000 then the Crown Attorney must prove that what you obtained as a result of the alleged fraud amounted to more than $5,000.
What are some Examples of Fraud?
Common examples of fraud are;
- Credit card or Debit card fraud.
- Defrauding financial institutions or the government regarding business loans.
- Misrepresenting legal documents.
What if I just give everything back? Will the charges be withdrawn?
No the charges will not be dropped if you return whatever money or property you obtained by fraud. The Crown Attorney will only withdraw a criminal charge where there is no reasonable prospect of conviction or it would not be in the interests of justice to proceed. However, if you did commit a fraud, then whatever money or property you are able to return can be considered at sentencing and may get you a lesser penalty than you otherwise would have received.
Can I get Diversion?
While diversion may be available in rare circumstances, it is not likely that the Crown Attorney will agree to diversion in most cases involving fraud. However, if the amount obtained by fraud was very minimal and you had no prior criminal record, it is possible the Crown Attorney may agree to some form of diversion.
What Defences are Available?
Often in cases of fraud charges there are several individuals involved and it can become difficult for the Crown Attorney to prove that every party involved had subjective knowledge of the fraud that occurred. For example, where an employee was following the order from their boss or another superior, the employee’s actions may have contributed to the fraud occurring but the employee may nonetheless be unaware that a fraud has occurred.
What is the Penalty for Fraud?
The penalty you may receive for fraud will be dependent upon whether the fraud amounts to more than $5,000 or less than $5,000. Where the fraud exceeds $5,000 the maximum penalty you can receive is 14 years imprisonment. Where the fraud is less than $5,000 the maximum penalty you can is 2 years in jail where the Crown Attorney proceeds by indictment and 6 months in jail and/or a $5,000 fine where the Crown Attorney proceeds summarily.
I’m charged with Fraud, What should I do?
You contact a lawyer immediately if you have been charged with fraud. A conviction for fraud can seriously impact your ability to gain future employment, particularly in licenced professions where you may be handling client money or you are in a position of trust.
If you have been charged with fraud, give me a call or email me now. I will meet with you for an initial 30-minute consultation free of charge.