What to do when accused of defrauding your employer

Did you know that defrauding an employer is a felony in the sense that it carries a prison sentence?

Article 380 (1) of the Criminal Code defines fraud as any deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means that deprives the public or any person of any property, service, money or valuable security.

Under Article 380 (1) a, the penalty for a person convicted of fraud in an amount exceeding $5,000 may be up to 14 years’ imprisonment, while under Article 380 (1) b, the penalty for fraud in an amount less than $5,000 carries a maximum sentence of 2 years in prison.

Defrauding an employer

Defrauding or stealing from an employer is one of the aggravating factors the judge will take into account when pronouncing the sentence.

The intended goal of a prison sentence for this type of behavior towards one’s employer is to dissuade others from committing these types of crimes and to send a clear message to society that it’s imperative to maintain a bond of trust between employer and employee.

As a matter of course, while imprisonment is the typical sentence for defrauding one’s employer, the judge always has the discretion to impose a different sentence when the circumstances warrant it. Therefore, prior to sentencing, it’s important for the judge to have knowledge of all the relevant facts regarding the individual who perpetrated the fraud. A presentence investigation report is often necessary in order to paint a precise portrait of the fraudulent individual and highlight any mitigating factors.

Defense in a real-life case of defrauding an employer

A client I represented had defrauded his employer, but was able to obtain a conditional discharge and avoid a prison sentence. There were numerous mitigating factors, and the monetary loss suffered by the employer was negligible. In this case, the presentence investigation report proved to be quite beneficial.

Unfortunately, in many other cases, fraud has devastating effects on our society, and the sentences that are pronounced may vary greatly from one individual to another.

Factors taken into account during sentencing

The various factors that the judge will take into account include the seriousness, complexity and duration of the fraud, the level of planning involved in committing the fraud and the number of victims who suffered damages as a result of the fraud.

The judge will also determine the following:

  • Whether the fraud has been or could be detrimental to the stability of the Canadian economy
  • Whether there were any significant consequences for the victims considering their personal situations, such as their age, state of health or financial status
  • Whether the defrauder took undue advantage of a reputation for integrity that he or she enjoyed within the organization

Have you been accused of fraud?

If you’ve been accused of defrauding your employer, the consequences could be serious. It’s strongly recommended that you call on the services of a lawyer to prepare your defense. Criminal attorney Martine Thibodeau can help you. So don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your case.

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