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.  Our office has extensive experiences defending fraud and fraud-related cases under the Criminal Code of 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.

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

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. 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. T.P. [2011] - While employed as a cashier at a major retailer, university student Client allegedly participated in scheme where co-accused would pretend to purchase items or gift cards that Client would not scan or cash in. Client was charged with Breach of Trust related Fraud Under $5000 and Theft Under $5000. Following discussions with the prosecutor, client completed extensive diversion program and all charges were eventually dropped. CHARGES WITHDRAWN - NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. M.K. [2011] - While employed as an assistant manager at a major retail store, Client was accused of Breach of Trust Fraud following a police investigation into missing merchandise and the discounted sale of store gift cards on the internet.  The joint police and store investigation resulted in charges of Fraud Under $5000 and Theft Under $5000 being laid against the Client, who upon being charged made several admissions to the police.  Following discussions with the prosecutor, a joint submission for a conditional discharge was accepted by the court.  CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE - NO JAIL - NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. C.R. [2011] - While managing a restaurant, Client was accused of obtaining and using a customer’s credit card on various occasions to defraud several businesses including a bank.  The police alleged that over a dozen different transactions took place over a several day period and proceeded to lay over a dozen fraud related charges including Unlawful Possession of a Credit Card, Unlawful Use of a Credit Card, and Fraud Under $5000.  Following a review of the case and discussions with the prosecutor, all charges against the Client were eventually withdrawn. CHARGES WITHDRAWN - NO CRIMINAL RECORD

R. v. M.D. [2010] – Client charged with over a dozen counts of Breach of Trust related Fraud Under $5000 relating to his position as general manager of major retail store resulting in allegations of losses to the store totalling several thousands of dollars – Client admits responsibility to police – several personal mitigating factors contributing to Client’s behaviour – extensive sentencing hearing – Crown asking for jail and restitution - NO JAIL – SUSPENDED SENTENCE AND PROBATION – NO RESTITUTION ORDER

R. v. G.T. [2010] – Client with own home renovation and contracting business charged with multiple counts of Breach of Trust related Fraud Under $5000.  Police alleged that Client regularly and intentionally took large sum deposits and failed to show up for or complete the work.  Multiple complainants contacted police, and prior incidents of complaints were on police file.  Following discussion with the Crown, Client makes restitution payment and court accepts joint submission of absolute discharge.  ABSOLUTE DISCHARGE - 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.