Fraud | Property Offences in Ottawa
Fraud is broadly defined as “dishonest conduct”. The three aspects of fraud covered under the law include:
- Dishonest acts
- Losses suffered by another party (includes risk of a loss)
- Knowledge that an act could result in loss or suffering (includes risk of loss or suffering).
It can be very difficult to define fraud as a crime, so it is important to have legal advice if you have been charged with fraud.
According to the Criminal Code, a person is considered to have committed fraud if they use falsehood, deceit, or other fraudulent means. This may include lying or withholding important information from a person, which is considered a dishonest omission. The judge will use the standards of the community to determine if a reasonable person would interpret the charged person’s behaviour as dishonest.
In order for a charge of fraud to be recognized, there must have been suffering or loss to another person as a result of the dishonest act. This loss must be financial or related to money or property. Therefore, dishonest acts that result in a person’s feelings being hurt or a person gaining an unfair advantage that has no financial gain is not considered fraud. The loss does not even have to have occurred. If a risk of loss can be proven, then the case for fraud is valid.
Knowledge of the risks
A charge of fraud cannot be upheld in court if the person charged with fraud committed the acts without knowing the acts would result in loss or risk of loss. This means that accidental acts, as well as those performed out of negligence or unintentional carelessness, are not considered fraud.