Fraud and Theft Defence Lawyers

Legal Services | Fraud & Theft

Fraud and Theft Defence Lawyers

It is critical to have a criminal lawyer experienced with theft and fraud in order to defend against such charges. Davidson Gregory is a criminal defence law firm in Edmonton who is experienced in theft and fraud cases. They have defended many clients who have be charged in Western Canada, including the Northwest Territories. If you’re looking for a fraud lawyer in the surrounding Edmonton area and beyond, contact Davidson Gregory today.

We can help individuals from anywhere in Western Canada and the Northwest Territories. If you’re unable to reach our Edmonton offices for a consultation, we are able to discuss your matter at your convenience via telephone or the online video platform of your choice (Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc). Where appropriate, we can also arrange travel to you. Our aim is to ensure that you can access legal advice as easily as possible.

Even if you believe that you have done nothing wrong, speaking to the authorities instead of limiting communication through a lawyer can damage your case.

Fraud and theft both concern the deprivation of property from another person. These offences encompass not just the act itself, but a specific intent to deprive someone of their property.

The distinctions between fraud and theft are what make their penalties different. If you are charged with fraud or theft in Edmonton, ensure you talk to a lawyer who specializes in fraud in order to learn how to prevent from being convicted or obtaining a criminal record.

Fraud Defence Lawyers

Fraud is a property crime that refers to a situation where one uses deceit or trickery to achieve an unfair advantage. As a result, the offence may be committed with the approval of the individual or organization being deceived. The deceit aspect of fraud may involve verbal, digital or paper misrepresentations causing the deprivation of the property. A person committing fraud will often hide their actions so when the crime is committed it often remains undiscovered for some time. It is possible the fraudster may not have even come into direct contact with the individual.

As with all criminal offences, there are two components that must exist: mens rea or the intent and actus reus or the physical act. For fraud to be established the accused must (1) intend to commit the fraud and (2) successfully deprive the person of their property.

Examples of Fraud

Examples of fraud are wide-ranging and include:

  • Bank embezzlement;
  • Tax evasion;
  • Fraudulent insurance claims;
  • Credit card fraud; and
  • Bankruptcy.

Without the proper checks in place, large-scale misappropriation could result, including cheque fraud, fictitious vendors, and ghost employees for a period of months, if not years. A conviction of fraud involving a breach of trust will result in a much harsher penalty.

If the fraud is committed by unlawfully depriving a person of their property, the accused may also be charged with theft as they have stolen something by way of the fraud. A person may also be charged with an attempted fraud if they ultimately did not deprive the person of the property but intended to do so and took concrete steps to commit the fraud, but ultimately failed to transpire.

Theft Defence Lawyers

Theft, by contrast, is when a person takes or steals something belonging to another without permission.

Like fraud, for theft to be established the accused must (1) intend to commit the theft and (2) successfully deprive the person of their property. In order to obtain a conviction, the Crown must prove that the accused had a specific intent to deprive the person of their property and also the physical act of moving or taking the item without the knowledge of or permission from the owner and an awareness that the item belongs to someone else.

Some of the most common examples of theft include: shoplifting, stealing merchandise or supplies from an employer, and stealing a motor vehicle. Theft can also occur in the form of robbery, which entails taking something from a person using force or the threat of force to do so.

Common Defences of Theft

A frequent defence to theft (shoplifting, in this case) is that the accused simply “forgot” to pay for the item. This argument undermines the intent element of the offence by highlighting the absence of intent.

Another frequent defence for theft is that the accused genuinely believed he or she had the legal right to take the item, such as a friend leaving his lawnmower at your house. This differs from believing you deserved to have the item or thought it was fair that you received it in that the accused was under the impression he or she is legally entitled to the item.

The success of any argument in a theft or fraud case will depend on the strength of the evidence and the circumstances of the case. Evidence in a fraud case usually involves the police gathering more evidence proving planning and deliberation to prove an intent to defraud another party.

Choose Davidson Gregory to Defend Your Fraud or Theft Case in Edmonton and Western Canada.


Frequently Asked Questions About Fraud & Theft

What are the penalties for fraud?

The Penalties for fraud vary depending on the circumstances.  A minor credit card fraud may attract a fine where a major that could include real estate fraud, financial fraud or theft from an employer may result in a sentence of several years in a federal penitentiary.

What if I pay back the money after committing fraud, can I go to jail?

If you make restitution of stolen money or funds this is an important and mitigating factor in sentencing.  However, every case is different. For example, stealing from an employer is an aggravating factor.  Paying restitution for stolen money is a very important sentencing factor but it may not be sufficient factor to prevent jail in a large and aggravating fraud.

Is it theft If I steal from someone who doesn’t own the property?

Yes, if that person is responsible for the property on behalf of an owner, you can be convicted of theft if you took the item for that person. Also, if that person is not responsible for the property, but knows that it is not yours, they may take steps to protect the property.  If you steal the item, you can be convicted of theft.

What are the penalties for theft?

The penalties for theft can range from participating in alternative measures and having the charge withdrawn, receiving a discharge after pleading guilty (a finding of guilty, but no criminal record is imposed), a suspended sentence (a criminal record with probation only), a fine (criminal record), a short sharp term of imprisonment, or lengthy terms of imprisonment if the theft is on a large scale.

Can I be jailed for self checkout theft?

Usually, the most serious penalty for shoplifting is the imposition of a fine and a criminal record.  It would only be in the most extreme case where you would have a lengthy criminal record for the same offence.

What if it's my first offence?

If you are facing your first offence for shoplifting, you most likely will not receive a criminal record.  You would be eligible for alternative measures or would be eligible to apply for a discharge which would mean that you would not receive a criminal record.