FRAUD LAWYER CALGARY
Cory Wilson has extensive experience in defending individuals charged with fraud including everything from altering price tags to the largest fraud in Canadian history. Cory’s fraud defence has changed the landscape of criminal law in the area of fraud and his cases have been used as precedents across the country.
Fraud is an incredibly serious offence that can result in lengthy periods of jail. Just being charged with fraud can have significant impacts on your future career, ability to travel and reputation in the community. For these reasons, it is important that you hire the right criminal lawyer to properly defend you. Cory Wilson has defended countless clients charged with fraud across Alberta, including Calgary, Okotoks, Airdrie, Strathmore, Cochrane, Canmore, Didsbury, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grand Prairie, and Turner Valley.
What is Fraud?
Fraud is a very broad criminal offence that ranges from altering a price tag to multi-million dollar Ponzi schemes. While the charge is very similar to theft, fraud requires deceit or falsehood. Depending on the monetary value of the fraud, an accused may be charged with fraud under $5,000 or fraud over $5,000. With the exception of the monetary value, the elements of the two offences are the same but the punishments are drastically different. A fraud conviction can result in sentences ranging from discharges to significant periods of incarceration.
In order to be convicted of fraud, the Crown Prosecutor must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The accused deprived the complainant of something of value or there was a risk of losing something of value;
- The deprivation was caused by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means; and
- The accused intended to defraud the complainant or had knowledge that the conduct could result in deprivation.
Deceit is an untrue statement made by a person who knows that it is untrue, or has reason to believe it is untrue, but makes it despite that risk, to induce another person to act on it, as if it were true, to that other person’s detriment. As such, if a person was unaware that the statement was untrue, they cannot be found guilty of fraud unless they were wilfully blind or reckless as to whether the statement was untrue.
“Other fraudulent means” is a term that covers the wide range of possible types of fraudulent activity. Types of fraudulent activity includes:
- Breach of trust
- Misuse of corporate accounts
- Non-disclosure of material acts
- Breach of contractual obligations
- Unauthorized diversion of funds or property
Fraud is an incredibly complex area of law often involving voluminous disclosure, forensic accountants and specialized prosecutors. Due to its complexity, it is important to have a highly skilled defence lawyer by your side. Cory Wilson has significant experience representing individuals charged with fraud including the largest fraud in Canadian history.
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.
How Do I Get My Fraud Charge Dropped?
Fraud is defined generally as when a person, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means defrauds any individual or the public of any money, property, belonging, service and/or security. An accused must have intended to defraud the individual or public. Depending on the monetary value of the fraud, an accused may be charged with fraud under $5,000 or fraud over $5,000. With the exception of the monetary value, the elements of the two offences are the same but the punishments are drastically different. A fraud conviction can result in sentences ranging from discharges to significant periods of incarceration.
Fraud is a crime of dishonesty and a conviction has significant lifelong impacts on employment, travel and immigration status. In order to properly defend fraud charges, it is important to have a highly skilled lawyer by your side. Cory Wilson has successfully represented many individuals charged with fraud including the largest fraud in Canadian history.
Alternative Measures Program
In certain circumstances, an accused person may have their fraud under $5,000 charge withdrawn by entering into the Alternative Measures Program. This is a program that diverts offenders from the traditional court system and upon completing certain conditions such as restitution, counselling or community service, the fraud charge is withdrawn leaving the accused with no criminal record.
Often, the difference between entering the Alternative Measures Program or not is having the right criminal defence lawyer. Cory Wilson works tirelessly to ensure that each client who is eligible for the program, is accepted into the program.
Fraud Offence FAQs
Cory Wilson is a criminal defence lawyer based in Calgary. If you have been charged with a criminal offence or are a suspect in a criminal investigation, call today for a free, no-obligation consultation.