Being charged with fraud or other white collar crimes in Ontario is a serious matter. In cases where there is a high level of organization, or in cases involving breaches of trust, jail will likely be imposed. The Conservative government’s new crime bill will result in harsher sentences for financial crimes as well.
“Fraud” is broadly defined by the Criminal Code. Any dishonest conduct which deprives or risks depriving another person of any property, money, valuable security, or any service constitutes fraud.
Financial crimes can range from minor frauds by an employee, to complex investment schemes, insurance frauds, mortgage scams, and large-scale tax evasion. Fraud and other commercial crime allegations often arise when employment or business relationships break-down. These criminal allegations can also surface during civil litigation and tax investigations. Related white collar crimes include:
- Theft, including identity theft
- Falsifying financial books and documents
- Unauthorized use of credit card data
- Trafficking in stolen or forged credit cards
- Tax evasion
While the Criminal Code deals with many aspects of commercial and financial crimes, other Federal and Provincial legislation contain significant criminal penalties and investigative powers, including:
- Income Tax Act
- Excise Act
- Copyright Act
- Securities Act
- Competition Act
Defending complex fraud and financial offences
If you are under investigation for fraud, tax avoidance, or other financial crimes you should retain criminal counsel immediately. You should know that your communications with your accountant, bookkeeper, and business associates are not privileged and can be used against you in a criminal prosecution.
There is a fine line between legitimate business practices and criminal conduct in some cases. In defending cases of fraud and white collar crime it will be necessary for criminal counsel to retain forensic accountants, auditors, and tax specialists to aid in the comprehensive defence of the client.
The complex nature of many financial crimes makes the prosecution of these cases time consuming and the outcome uncertain for the prosecution. As result, lower penalties, or resolutions which place liability on a corporation as opposed to an individual, can often be negotiated.
The protections in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms apply to white collar crimes as well. In particular, an accused’s right against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to silence, and the right to complete disclosure of the prosecutions case may play an important role in obtaining a favourable outcome.
GET HELP NOW
Whether the investigation is at its initial stage or you have been charged with a financial crime Brett McGarry would be pleased to discuss your case with you. Contact him to discuss the best defence strategy for your fraud related charges.