Shoplifting, theft, and fraud are all serious charges that can result not only in a criminal record upon conviction, but also in fines, probation, or even jail.
What Is Theft?
Theft is defined under the Criminal Code of Canada as the taking of property without the lawful authority to do so. Broadly speaking, in Canada, there are two types of theft:
- Theft under $5,000
- Theft over $5,000
There are no offences in Canada such as grand theft or petty theft.
To be convicted of theft, the Crown must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. They must show that the property was taken or stolen without permission and without the lawful authority to do so. In individual cases, there may be explanations or defences available to individuals charged with this crime. Individuals may also be charged with possession of stolen property.
Theft Under $5,000 In Alberta
Theft under $5,000 is exactly that, theft of cash or goods under $5,000. These types of thefts can include shoplifting or other forms of retail theft. In Canada, there are no separate offences for shoplifting or retail theft. All allegations of shoplifting, no matter how minor, may result in criminal charges for theft.
Theft Over $5,000 In Alberta
Theft over $5,000 is exactly that, theft of cash or goods over $5,000. Though these types of theft are less common, they are more serious. These crimes can include stealing from an employer or embezzlement.
What Is Identity Theft?
A related offence is Identity Theft. To prove Identity Theft the Crown must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. The elements of Identity Theft include:
- The accused obtained or possessed another person’s identity information; and,
- The accused intended to use the information to commit an indictable offence that includes fraud, deceit, or falsehood as an element of the offence.
You can also be charged in trafficking in Identity Information if you make available, distribute, sell, or offer for sale, another person’s Identity Information or have it in your possession for any of those purposes. You can also be charged with offences like possessing another person’s private information, ID, or documents, without a lawful reason to have them.
Identity Information includes any information of a type that is commonly used alone or in combination with other information to identify or purport to identify an individual. This includes a fingerprint, voice print, retina image, DNA, name, address, signature, financial information, Social Insurance Number, passport number, health insurance number, password, or even mail addressed to them.
What Is Fraud?
Fraud is defined under the Criminal Code of Canada as using deceit, falsehood, or other fraudulent means, to improperly get any property, money or service. Broadly speaking, in Canada, there are two types of Fraud:
- Fraud over $5000
- Fraud under $5000
In order to be convicted of Fraud, the Crown must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. There are two distinct elements that make up the offence of Fraud:
- A prohibited act of deceit or falsehood. In the absence of deceit or falsehood, the courts will look objectively for a “dishonest act,” or what a reasonable person would consider a dishonest act; and
- A deprivation caused by the prohibited act which caused an actual loss or placed the complainant at risk for an actual loss. This deprivation must relate to property, money, or any service.
To be convicted of fraud requires proof that the accused was aware that they were doing something wrong (for example, making a statement that they knew wasn’t true), and was aware that doing this could or would cause another person to lose something.
What Happens If You’re Charged With Fraud?
If you’ve been charged with fraud, jail is a real possibility. If the fraud was for more than one million dollars, there is a minimum punishment of two years imprisonment.
Looking For A Theft Or Fraud Lawyer In Edmonton?
If you have been charged with shoplifting theft, fraud, or another fraud-type offence in Edmonton or the surrounding area, it is important to maintain your right to silence and to speak to a criminal lawyer immediately. Even if you have not yet been charged but are being questioned by police or are worried about an investigation, it is important to speak to an experienced criminal lawyer.
Our criminal lawyers at Bottos Law Group are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to answer any questions you may have at 780-421-7001. We will fight for you, and we get results.