White-Collar Crime Offences
White-collar crime is a colloquial term used to describe crimes that are committed from behind a desk or in a boardroom. White-collar crime can involve underlying frauds, thefts, and other complex stock and tax frauds. The government of Canada has been taking a hard line on these types of crimes in recent years.
There is nothing less severe about “white-collar” crime. The stakes are high just as in any other area of criminal law. Sometimes the stakes can even be higher as a criminal investigation into a corporation can have a rippling effect on several people’s jobs and lives.
White-Collar Consultation Work
Mr. Weisberg has been consulted by business people and corporate lawyers on issues relating to criminal investigations into officers, directors, and corporate organizations. He has also provided advice relating to internal matters and dealings of businesses and its employees that may be engaged in criminal activities.
Mr. Weisberg also regularly defends individuals facing significant fraud and theft charges. He has represented management in corporations that have faced criminal charges due to their conduct while maintaining that office and prides himself on being able to handle these matters discreetly. He will strategize on ways to not only defend the charges but also help keep his client’s professional reputations intact.
Changes to Canadian Laws
In the last couple of years, new harsher penalties have been brought in to deal specifically with fraud charges in Canada. The government is trying to take away the image that white-collar offenders receive less harsh treatment than other criminals.
The maximum for fraud was changed from ten years to fourteen years several years ago. Conditional sentences are no longer available for someone facing charges of fraud over $5000. In the past, even large dollar amount frauds were being resolved for conditional sentences. A conditional sentence allows an offender to serve a custodial sentence in the community. This means that people convicted of fraud were being allowed to stay home on house arrest or with a curfew instead of having to go to jail.
There is now a two-year minimum prison sentence for people convicted of fraud where the subject-matter of the fraud is more than one million dollars.
In considering what sentence to impose the Criminal Code outlines the following aggravating circumstances as they relate to fraud convictions:
- Complexity and magnitude of the fraud; whether the fraud affected the financial markets or economy
- Number of victims
- Financial impact on victims; whether status of offender used to take advantage
- Compliance with professional standards
- Destruction or concealment of records relating to the fraud.
The Criminal Code prohibits a judge from considering an offender’s employment, employment skills or reputation in the community if these attributes were used to help commit the fraud. In most cases, a person’s previous work history or standing in the community can be used to mitigate the sentence.
Advice on White-Collar Crime Issues
Contact Weisberg Law for a consultation and advice on white-collar crime issues. The office can be reached at 416.605.4811.