The maximum punishment for credit card fraud in Canada is two years less one day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine for a summary offence, and 10 years’ imprisonment for an indictable offence.
Credit card fraud in Canada
According to the Criminal Code of Canada, someone is guilty of credit card fraud if he/she:
- Steals a credit card
- Forges or falsifies a credit card
- Possesses, uses or traffics in a forged or falsified credit card
- Uses a credit card knowing that it has been revoked or cancelled
Summary offence vs indictable offence
If someone is convicted of credit card fraud, the penalties that can be imposed depend on whether he/she has been charged with a summary offence or an indictable offence. Indictable offences are considered more serious than summary offences, and so carry heavier penalties.
Credit card fraud is deemed to be a hybrid offence. This means the Crown can choose to proceed on the basis of a summary offence or an indictable offence.
How does the Crown decide in cases of credit card fraud?
When deciding whether to charge the accused with a summary offence or an indictable offence, the Crown will consider the value of the alleged losses.
If the credit card fraud is thought to have amounted to losses greater than $5,000, it is likely that the Crown will choose to proceed by way of indictment. If the credit card fraud is thought to have amounted to losses of less than $5,000, the Crown is likely to proceed on a summary basis.
This decision has a major impact on the way in which the case is handled, and the potential punishment that can be imposed.
Penalties for credit card fraud
If someone is found guilty of credit card fraud, the maximum penalty that can be handed out by the court is:
- 10 years in jail for an indictable offence
- Two years less one day imprisonment and/or a $5,000 fine for a summary offence
These are the maximum penalties available to the court. The judge will not automatically impose the harshest sentence following a guilty verdict. Even so, the defendant will have a criminal record, and this in itself can have consequences. For example, it can hinder a person’s ability to gain employment and travel.
Your credit card fraud lawyers in Vancouver
If you have been accused of credit card fraud or identity theft, please contact us at Mickelson & Whysall Law Corporation. We can help you obtain a not guilty verdict. If this is not possible, we can secure a reduced penalty, ensuring you avoid the maximum sentence available to the court.
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