If you are accused of financial fraud, or you are under investigation, we recommend that you instruct a criminal defence lawyer straightaway. These are complex cases and investigations can continue for months, even years. A lawyer can advise you how best to handle the situation.
What to do if I’ve been charged with fraud?
Fraud is a type of white collar crime that covers an array of offences, including credit card fraud, mortgage fraud and embezzlement. Whatever the exact nature of the allegations, if you have been charged with fraud, please do not panic or bury your head in the sand. Instead, contact us at Mickelson & Whysall Law at the earliest available opportunity.
You might be tempted to manage the problem on your own, especially if you are convinced of your innocence. However, there is a right way and a wrong way to deal with allegations of fraud. If you get it wrong, you could jeopardise your case. This could result in reputational damage at best, or jail time at worst.
Penalties for fraud
You might be surprised at the mention of jail time, but fraud has serious penalties in Canada. If the case proceeds by way of indictment, the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. Even if you are awarded a fine or a shorter jail sentence, it will be very hard to shake the stigma of a fraud conviction. This can have a detrimental impact on your personal and professional life.
Because of the seriousness of the situation, it is absolutely vital that you have legal representation. Fraud investigations often take a long time, so you may be a suspect long before you are actually arrested. Ideally, you should instruct a lawyer as soon as you think that you are under investigation.
How a fraud defence lawyer can help you
Although it is frightening to face allegations of fraud, any attempt to evade the police or hide evidence could work against you. Instead, it is better to ask a defence lawyer for help. A defence lawyer can formulate a strategy that secures the best possible outcome. This might mean establishing your innocence, or it might mean arguing a technical defence.
For example, it might be that the evidence against you cannot be used because the correct procedures were not followed – whether by the police or the prosecution. Alternatively, it might be that the Crown cannot meet the standard of proof required in criminal cases. Experts, such as forensic accountants, can also be called upon in court to testify in your favour.
If an acquittal (meaning a not-guilty verdict) is unlikely, then we might recommend a strategy of ‘damage limitation’. Depending on the circumstances, this could involve negotiating a plea or seeking a conditional discharge. This is when you are released back into the community, on the basis that you meet certain conditions.
Speak to a Vancouver criminal defence lawyer
If you are involved in a case of financial fraud, please contact us at Mickelson & Whysall Law Corporation. There are various possible ways forward. The right approach will depend on you and the facts of your case.
We can represent you throughout proceedings, accompanying you at police interviews and presenting your defence in court. We act for individuals and organisations accused of both small and large-scale fraudulent activity.
By seeking early legal advice, you are giving your case the best chance of success.