What are defences to fraud?
There are a variety of defences for individuals charged with fraud based on the circumstances of each specific case. The most important step in determining what defences are available to you, is to hire an experienced lawyer who can properly assess your case. Cory Wilson has represented countless individuals charged with fraud including the largest fraud in Canadian history.
Most fraud cases are incredibly complex and involve voluminous disclosure including detailed contracts, agreements, emails, offering memorandums and production orders. With such complexity comes the ability for a skilled and experienced fraud defence lawyer to attack the Crown’s case. The burden is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed fraud. Generally, the Crown must prove the following:
- Identity of the accused
- Date and time of the incident
- Jurisdiction (city and province where the alleged fraud occurred)
- The complainant owned the property, money, valuable service or other thing of value
- The value of the property, money, valuable security or other thing of value was over or under $5,000
- The accused deprived the complainant of something of value or was put at risk of losing something of value
- The deprivation was caused by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means
- The accused intended to defraud the complainant or had knowledge that the conduct could result in deprivation
If the Crown is unable to prove these essential elements of the offence, the accused cannot be found guilty. Fraud is an incredibly complex and intricate area of law. Very few criminal defence lawyers have the experience and skill to properly and effectively defend such charges. Cory Wilson has dedicated a significant amount of his career to defending individuals charged with a variety of frauds from passing forged cheques to the largest ponzi scheme in Canadian history with an estimated value of nearly one billion dollars.
Unlawful Search and Seizure
Many of the documents the Crown Prosecutor will want to rely on at trial will have been seized by police as a result of production orders and search warrants. Depending on the information and process relied on by the police in obtaining the orders and warrants, an accused may be able to make an application to exclude the evidence as being unlawfully seized. Very few lawyers have the experience to properly examine warrants and find police errors that can result in the exclusion of evidence. Cory Wilson has significant experience representing individuals charged with fraud including successfully making applications to exclude evidence unlawfully seized by police.
Lack of Intent
It has become very common for police to lay fraud charges where a business deal or investment collapses, regardless of the reasons for the collapse. However, simply because a deal goes sideways, doesn’t mean it was fraudulent. It is a full defence to the charge of fraud if the accused did not have the intent to defraud or the understanding of the risks involved in the actions taken. The defence of lack of intent may fail if an accused was reckless or willfully blind to the allegedly fraudulent conduct.
When fraud charges have been laid but the accused had no fraudulent intent, it is possible to have the charges withdrawn by presenting defence evidence on a without prejudice basis to the assigned Crown Prosecutor. This means that anything discussed or provided to the Crown Prosecutor cannot be used against the accused at trial. Cory Wilson has worked extensively with Specialized Prosecutions who handle serious criminal fraud charges as well as General Prosecutions who handle frauds considered less serious. As a result of this close working relationship, Cory Wilson has successfully had many of his clients’ fraud charges withdrawn or reduced long before the stress and expense of trial.