Fraud Under $5000 & Fraud Over $5000 Charges

Fraud Under $5000 and Fraud Over $5000 are charges under the Criminal Code of Canada. They are laid frequently in relation to employer theft, unauthorized use of credit cards, and cases involving submission of falsified documents such as work invoices or financial statements.  The charge can also be laid alongside other offences including Forgery or Uttering Forged Documents, Credit Card Theft, or Theft, both Over $5000 and Under $5000.  Allegations relating to theft from employers are considered especially serious Breach of Trust cases, and generally attract initial sentencing positions of jail or prison.

Our office has extensive experiences defending fraud and theft-related cases under the Criminal Code of Canada, having handled hundreds of cases throughout Canada.

Working with a lawyer who understands the complexities of successfully defending a Fraud-related charge can sometimes make a significant difference in outcome- whether it means staying in Canada, avoid jail, or avoiding a criminal record.  Our results speak for themselves.

We have helped hundreds of first-time defendants, professionals, students, and families work their way through the challenges of the justice system, and we make ourselves available for consultations free of charge to people charged in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, and throughout British Columbia. We consider matters throughout the rest of Canada on a case-by-case basis.

What are some recent Fraud Under $5000 and Fraud Over $5000 cases you’ve defended?

R. v. B.H. [2017] - Client, a professional executive, is charges with workplace related Fraud Over $5000 and Theft Over $5000 by engaging in deceptive business practices placing his employer at financial risk. Client allegedly diverted funds in excess of $45,000 intended for employer into personal account. Case is discussed with senior Crown over a period of 18 months. Crown Prosecutor and defence jointly propose a period of probation with no custody - SUSPENDED SENTENCE and NO JAIL

R. v. O.M. [2017] – Client charged with workplace Fraud Over $5000 relating to her accounting position for a public institution. Government alleges extended fraud over 3-year period involving forged cheques, credit cards, and thefts of cash in an amount nearing $400,000. Following nearly 18 months of negotiation with Crown counsel, a rehabilitation plan, and strong family support, judge agrees with our submission for house arrest with no electronic monitoring and no probation. Client is sentenced to 2 years less a day house arrest and a stand-alone restitution order. – CONDITIONAL SENTENCE and NO PRISON

R. v. S.R. [2017] - Client charged with Breach of Trust Fraud Under $5000 following arrest at a major fashion retailer. Allegations include misuse of customer information and gift card fraud. Client made inculpatory statements to police. Numerous personal circumstances are brought to government's attention by our office. Following discussions with Crown counsel, the support of client's family, and significant rehabilitative steps, the Crown drops all charges against our client. - CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. G.L. [2016] - Client, a university graduate, is charged with Breach of Trust Theft and Fraud Over $5000 relating to her role as payment processor in a commercial business. Degree of planning and premeditation and large amount normally attracts significant jail sentence. Following 11 months of discussions with Crown counsel, judge accepts joint position for probation and suspends sentence - SUSPENDED SENTENCE and NO JAIL

R. v. R.B. [2016] - Client, a university graduate, is charged with multiple counts of Fraud Over $5000 and False Pretences. Allegations involve creating and selling fake trades licenses. Client arrested after police chase. Following 7 months of negotiations and a rehabilitation plan, judge accepts joint submission for a discharge - CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE and NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. S.H. [2015] – Clients, two university-age students with prior arrest history in the justice system are charged with Fraud Under $5000, Credit Card Fraud, and Uttering Forged Documents following allegations of multiple month shopping-spree throughout British Columbia involving stolen credit cards.  Government alleges clients conducted over 30 fraudulent transactions, with several thousand dollars in losses.  Following six-month negotiation period with the Crown, the judge accepts a joint recommendation for a Conditional Discharge with no criminal record–  CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE and NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. B.R. [2014] – Client charged with workplace Fraud Over $5000 alleging the submission of false time-sheets for fictitious employees over a 3 year period. Company claims losses in excess of $100,000, and the Crown is asking for jail in the reformatory range of two years less a day. Following extensive sentencing submissions, client gets house arrest with no electronic monitoring – CONDITIONAL SENTENCE and NO PRISON

R. v. M.B. [2013] – Client charged with Fraud Over $5000 and Uttering Forged Documents related to a Breach of Trust at the workplace involving the submission of false invoices over a 4 year period. Total losses to company and insurance exceed $350,000. No restitution is made. Prosecutor requested 3 to 5 year penitentiary sentence. Following several days of sentencing submissions, client gets house arrest and is able to keep his current job. Case noted in national legal sentencing journal – CONDITIONAL SENTENCE and NO PRISON

R. v. B.L. [2013] – Client charged with over 70 Fraud-related offences including Falsify Credit CardIdentity Theft, False Statement in Writing, Obtaining Credit by Fraud, and Personation, totalling several thousands of dollars. Client acknowledged using her position of trust as an admin to steal client data and take out credit cards in customer’s names. Credit cards are then used at casinos and retail stores. Prosecutor requested a period of custody. Following sentencing submissions, judge imposes a period of probation, citing client's personal circumstances as “exceptional.” – SUSPENDED SENTENCE and NO JAIL

R. v. S.G. [2013] – Client is charged with Fraud Over $5000 and Possession of Instrument for Copying Credit Card data as a result of allegations relating to her employment as a cashier at a large retailer. Police allege that client stole hundreds of customers' credit card information over a period of several months and wrote down card pin numbers. Police conduct extensive investigation and undercover operation including video surveillance. Total losses alleged to exceed $100,000. Following a year of discussions with the Crown, all charges were withdrawn at the request of the Crown – CHARGES WITHDRAWN and NO CRIMINAL RECORD.

R. v. K.A. [2012] – Client charged with Fraud, Personation to Gain Advantage, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, and Uttering Forged Documents. Police alleged that client participated in a complex combination of frauds involving targeting victims on Craigslist and committing identity theft using forged government documents. Our office re-interviewed police witnesses, obtained sworn affidavits, and assisted the prosecutor in concluding that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction against our client – CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. V.G. [2012] – Client was charged with Fraud Under $5000. Police alleged that client had racked up a massive retail shopping bill while fraudulently in possession of someone else’s credit card. Following discussions with the Crown, the client participated in a rehabilitative plan and agreed to enter into a peace bond to not have anyone else’s credit cards in her possession. - CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. M.K. [2012] - Client was charged with Fraud, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, and Possession of Credit Card Data following arrest at a major retail mall. Client made several admissions and inculpatory statements to security guards and police, and signed a written confession. Several serious personal issues leading up to the charge were brought to the Crown’s attention at the resolution meeting with the Crown, and the prosecutor agreed to withdraw all charges if the client completed a combined counseling and community service informal diversion program. - CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. M.E. [2012] - Client, a university student with strong grades, was charged with Fraud, Possession of Credit Card Data, and Possession of Property Obtained by Crime following police surveillance of client and co-accused allegedly purchasing power tools and machinery with false credit cards. Police alleged that client had multiple fake credit cards in his possession. Following extensive discussions with Crown’s office, client completes onerous diversion program arranged through the firm and enters Peace Bond - CHARGES WITHDRAWN AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. N.R. [2012] – Client was charged with Breach of Trust Fraud Over $5000 while employed as a senior financial advisor at a major bank.  Police allege that client misappropriated customer funds for his own use over an extended period.  Client admitted some conduct to bank investigators and police and made restitution.  Following nine months of negotiations with the Crown’s office, client is permitted to enter a plea to the lesser offence of Fraud Under and a joint position is accepted by the judge for a Conditional Discharge with no criminal record – CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE AND NO CRIMINAL RECORD

What is the maximum possible penalty for Fraud in British Columbia?

Under the Criminal Code, a conviction for Fraud Under $5000 carries a maximum possible penalty of 2 years imprisonment, while a conviction for Fraud Over $5000 carries a maximum possible penalty of 14 years imprisonment.

I confessed to my employer and paid the money back yet I was still charged – can they do that?

In the course of a police investigation or an internal investigation, clients often ask about the likelihood of charges not proceeding against them if they were to confess or agree to something being suggested to them.  What is usually being suggested to them amounts to an acknowledgement of responsibility for a criminal offence.  However, clients are surprised to discover that neither the police nor internal or external investigators have any obligation to uphold promises to not charge them.  As lawyers, we regularly see particulars or disclosure containing oral, written or videotaped statements or admissions that are ultimately used in court against the client.  Understand your rights and speak to a criminal defence lawyer in British Columbia if you are under investigation.

What is a Breach of Trust in Canada?

A Breach of Trust is a term used in criminal law.  It means that the context of the fraud is treated more seriously by the courts because of a preexisting relationship between the parties.  Courts consider it an aggravating feature of Fraud offences when the defendant was in a position of responsibility or trust in relation to the victim.  Breach of Trust situations commonly involve retail cashiers, bookkeepers, store managers, accountants, and public sector employees.

How is Fraud defined in the Criminal Code of Canada?

The Criminal Code of Canada states that a person is guilty of fraud when:

cc. 380 Fraud

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.

Fraud Under $5000 specifically differs by virtue of the penalties and sentences available to a judge (based on a lower loss amount) than the more serious Over charge.  It is possible, in certain situations, to resolve a much more serious charge by pleading down to Fraud Under $5000 and thereby making the client eligible for a Discharge – which if accepted by a judge would leave the client with no criminal record.