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Under section 380(1) of the Criminal Code, a person commits fraud when by “deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means” they defraud the public or any person of “any property, money or valuable security or any service.”
Fraud cases can vary widely in their complexity and circumstances, and each case is unique. To secure a conviction for fraud, the prosecution must prove the following essential elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt:
Deceit or Falsehood: The accused must have engaged in deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means. This means that they intentionally made false representations, statements, or omissions in order to deceive another party.
Intent: The accused must have acted with intent to defraud. This means they had a deliberate and dishonest purpose or motive to deceive another party and to obtain property, money, valuable security, or services by doing so.
Victim: There must be a victim or a party who was deceived or defrauded by the accused's actions. This can be an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization.
Property, Money, Valuable Security, or Services: The accused must have obtained or attempted to obtain property, money, valuable security, or services as a result of their fraudulent activities.
Deprivation or Risk of Deprivation: The accused's actions must have caused the victim to suffer deprivation, financial loss, or a risk of loss. This means that a person can be charged with fraud even if they did not actually cause any loss to the complainant.
The value of the property, money, or services involved may determine the severity of the offence. If the value exceeds $5,000, the accused may be charged with "fraud over $5,000," which carries a higher maximum penalty. If the value is $5,000 or less, the accused may be charged with "fraud under $5,000," which has a lower maximum penalty.
In cases where the subject-matter of the fraud involves a testamentary instrument (such as a will), it is considered a more serious offence.