Calgary Financial Theft Defence Lawyer
The Criminal Code of Canada defines financial theft as the taking of another individual’s property without lawful basis and converting to your own or someone else’s use. The property that is taken can be either physical property or can consist of funds and money. The crime is generally committed by a perpetrator who is looking for quick gain and profit while believing that there is minimal risk of being caught and punished.
Financial theft crimes are non-violent, economic crimes that are often committed in a business or government setting. They can occur in a myriad of fields of economic activity including, but not limited to:
- The services industry
- The foods and beverages industry
- The healthcare industry
- Real estate
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, the crimes of financial theft and fraud are closely related. The difference between them is that while both involve the taking of property, fraud has the added requirement that the taking must involve an act of dishonesty from which the perpetrator gains financially.
At the Yoav Niv law firm, we know that if an individual is charged with financial theft, there will be immediate consequences to their lives. They certainly will suffer damage to their professional reputations. They may lose their current employment and will probably be prohibited from engaging in financial transactions until their case is adjudicated. We are very sensitive to these possibilities and will promptly begin investigating your case details so we can craft a strong defence on your behalf.
We handle a wide variety of financial theft cases ranging from simple to complex. We have great experience and a proven record in handling such cases combining our experience with our sophisticated knowledge of the financial sector and criminal law. This knowledge is especially necessary in complex cases of alleged financial theft, where we may have to review thousands of detailed financial documents and statements. In the most complex cases, it may be necessary for us to retain a forensic accountant as an extra layer of defence for you. If we believe it will be to your benefit, we will negotiate with the Crown to see if your charges can be downgraded. If your matter ultimately goes to trial, we will use our legal talents to zealously defend your rights by requiring the Crown to prove each element of the offence to which you have been charged. If we can show that the Crown has failed to meet their burdens of proof, the charges against you will be dismissed.
What is Financial Theft?
Financial theft is the taking of the property of another with the intent of depriving that person of the property. In a financial theft, the perpetrator seeks to enjoy and profit from the property that is taken. Alternatively stated, the perpetrator converts the property of another for his or her own use. Financial theft can take place in a wide range of fields and industries. It does not have to include deception.
Examples of Financial Theft Charges
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, financial theft is a property offence. It is generally categorized in one of two ways – financial theft in an amount under $5,000 or over $5,000. In determining under which category the offence falls, the Crown will measure the financial theft by its complexity and the amount or value of the theft. Financial thefts can range from the shoplifting of goods with a low value to a complex theft by a director of a multinational company involving a great number of victims and millions of dollars.
The Criminal Code of Canada puts a financial theft by an employee from his or her employer into a special sub-category. It is considered a serious breach of trust, and as such, the Crown will often seek incarceration even if the individual has no prior criminal history and the value of the theft was small.
Penalties for Financial Theft in Calgary
The Crown will generally seek a lesser punishment for thefts under $5,000 and a stricter and more severe punishment for thefts of over $5,000.
Following a conviction, sentencing will depend upon the amount of the theft and the number of people who are affected by it. A conviction for a smaller financial theft may involve the paying of restitution to the victim or jail in lieu of the payment of restitution. It also may include diversion into the Alternative Measures Program, which allows charges to be dropped in exchange for the completion of a community service program or the making of a charitable donation.
The penalty following a conviction for a larger and more serious financial theft is generally incarceration. The Alternative Measures Program is not available for financial thefts of greater than $5,000.
The Criminal Code of Canada lists a number of factors that a court must consider upon a conviction and prior to sentencing. Among them are:
- Whether the individual has a prior criminal history or is a first-time offender
- The type and nature of the financial theft committed
- The value of the goods and services that the offender obtained as a result of the financial theft
- The number of people who were injured as a result of the financial theft
- Whether any victims of the financial theft were elderly and were particularly hurt by the offender’s acts
Contact Yoav Niv Today
If you live in the greater Calgary area and the Crown has charged you with financial theft or is actively investigating you for it, you should immediately contact my firm. We have a proven record of defending clients who have been charged with financial theft. We possess sophisticated knowledge of the financial sector, combined with legal skills and a command of the laws regarding financial theft. Our long-standing philosophy is that every client is presumed to be innocent and has a right to the best possible defence. We will work tirelessly to have the charges against you dismissed and/ or downgraded. Get the skilled counsel and sophisticated representation that you deserve and need. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case, call 587-968-6721 or contact us online.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some common examples of financial crimes?
Financial crimes can range from theft to bribery, money laundering, insurance fraud, and Ponzi schemes. Theft involves unlawfully taking property or money that belongs to someone else, while bribery is the act of offering something of value to an official or public representative in exchange for services or favours. Money laundering is the process of disguising or concealing illegally obtained profits by transferring them through multiple accounts or businesses. Insurance fraud involves making false claims to receive compensation benefits which are not legally entitled to them, often resulting in substantial monetary losses among insurers. Finally, a Ponzi scheme involves promising investors high financial returns for minimal risks with the guarantee of using funds from new investors to pay out old investors’ earnings. Often in cases like these, the alleged perpetrators and victims have different levels of involvement in a sophisticated scheme, which can make the defence of these types of charges relatively complex.
How do I know if I am a victim of a financial crime?
If you have been involved in any form of financial transaction or activity, paying or receiving money, donating funds to a charity, creating a business and running it, etc., there is always the possibility that you may be the victim of financial crime. The leading indicators to keep an eye out for and signal possible financial crime include sudden unexpected owes and debits from your accounts, discrepancies between your documents and those from other parties, and disregard for proper protocols and procedures. If you feel that any of these red flags could be suspicious for potential fraudulent behaviour, it is best to contact law enforcement and consult with an advisor so that you can learn how best to protect yourself from fraud moving forward.
What should I do if I think I am a victim of a financial crime?
If you believe you have been a victim of a financial crime, such as fraud or identity theft, it is important to act quickly. First, contact your credit card company and tell them the details of the crime right away. It’s also important to file a police report so that authorities can begin their investigation. Next, if you have given out personal information or banking information, cancel those accounts immediately and take steps to close any account openings with your name that were created without your consent. Lastly, contact one of the three major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion – so that you can get a copy of your credit report and make sure no additional suspicious activity has occurred. That way, you can avoid potential fraudulent activities and protect yourself from further harm.
Who can I contact for help if I am a victim of a financial crime?
If you are a victim of a financial crime, it is important to contact the authorities or trusted experts who know the legal process and can help you navigate it. You may want to speak with your local police department, consumer protection agency, or financial institution for advice. Additionally, there are many local organizations dedicated to providing support to victims of fraud and other financial crimes. Reaching out to these specialized resources can clarify the next steps while helping you determine what restitution may be available.
What are some common defences to financial crimes charges?
Common defences to financial crimes charges can vary, but often the defendant relies upon showing a lack of intent, a mistake, or identity. In addition, challenging the evidence presented on technical grounds (such as illegal search and seizure) may be utilized as potential defences. It is ultimately up to the court to determine if the prosecution can prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. This is often a document-heavy task that takes place while witnesses are subject to close examination in the courtroom.