Fraud or Theft in Alberta: How to Handle the Charges


Fraud, theft, swindling, larceny, etc. Whatever label you decide to give it, they all carry the same bad connotation. And they can get you in a lot of trouble; community service, a criminal record, and yes, even jail time.

A criminal lawyer in Calgary is necessary if you face such charges. It is often the first step you should take to resolve such matters. But other actions can and should be taken as well.

In this article, we will explore the differences between fraud and theft, as well as how to best deal with the charges of each one in Alberta. So let’s begin by gaining some clarity by answering the question:

What is Fraud?

The Criminal Code of Canada defines fraud as: “Using deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means, whether or not it is a false pretence within the meaning of this Act, defrauds the public or any person, whether ascertained or not, of any property, money or valuable security or any service.”
To this end, two differentiating components comprise the crime of fraud:

  1. An outlawed action meant to deceive or swindle someone.
  2. An impoverishment stemming from the outlawed action resulted in a genuine loss or put the claimant in a position where a loss could occur. The impoverishment has to be linked to possessions, capital, or a type of service.

As criminal lawyers in Calgary, we understand how people may confuse the difference between fraud and theft, so think of it this way; Fraud is theft but with the added factor of misrepresentation. Different types of fraud include:

  • Perjury
  • Forgery
  • Identity theft
  • Embezzlement

A fraud conviction requires evidence that the suspect was conscious of their poor choice of actions and was knowledgeable of the consequences their ill-intent could cause to the other person.

What is Theft?

Simply put, theft is taking any property or possession from another person without the consent of the said individual. A theft conviction requires the Crown to prove without a shred of doubt that the suspect is guilty. Evidence must be provided as proof that the property was indeed taken without authorization from its rightful owner. In certain instances, justifications might be at the disposal of persons charged with theft.

How to Deal With Fraud and Theft Charges

Offences Under $5000

Fraud and theft offences under $5000 are appraised as lighter offences. As criminal lawyers, we can tell you that these misdeeds in Calgary may land in community service and a sizable fine. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be affected personally or professionally. Even under these circumstances, finding a job can be incredibly difficult; you could become a pariah amongst potential friends, and even your family might distrust you.

Offences Over $5000

And if your offence is over $5000, you’re landing yourself in felony territory. The consequences will be much more severe. You could end up with a lengthy jail sentence in addition to some hefty fines for your criminal activity. In either case, your best bet is to contact and talk to a seasoned theft and fraud lawyer.

Things That Can Lead To Being Charged With Fraud

In Calgary, criminal lawyers have dealt with different forms of theft that can be charged as fraud. These include

  • Bank fraud
  • Taxes fraud
  • Identity theft
  • Insurance fraud
  • Embezzlement
  • Contract fraud and more

What Does the Crown Have to Prove to Get a Fraud or Theft Conviction?

The most notable difference between fraud and theft in court is that the Crown must prove fraud beyond a reasonable doubt. With fraud, the prosecution is required to verify that the defendant committed an act of fraud intentionally. This is critical as the crowd must convince the court that the defendant intended to deceive for personal gain rather than by mistake.

For a fraud conviction, the defendant must have resulted in the victims’ loss. The loss has to be because of what the defendant has committed due to their actions.

A defendant may be charged with multiple counts of fraud if the case involves multiple victims. A conviction in one case can influence the outcome of the rest, so you need the best criminal lawyers in Calgary to negotiate with the Crown in your best interest.

Looking for a Theft or Fraud Lawyer in Calgary?

At the end of the day, getting a criminal lawyer in Calgary seasoned in theft and fraud defence is the most crucial step you can take.

Get in touch with an experienced attorney who can help guide you through amending your mistakes and defend you in a court of law.

Blog posts from Batting, Wyman Barristers are for general information only. The content should not be considered legal advice. If you are in need of professional legal advice, please Book a free 30-minute consultation.