Our Recent Cases
Fraud Charges Withdrawn
Our firm recently represented a young man charged with fraud over $5,000 and impersonation. In the case of R v O, it was alleged that he impersonated an individual who was responsible for collecting money from tenants in a landlord/tenant relationship. The prosecutor claimed my client accepted email money transfers and converted the money in a fraudulent manner.
I met with my client several times and created a defence theory based on our meetings and what I learned as a result. We set the matter for trial. My theory centered around identity and the requisite mens rea required for fraud.
In order to prove the offence of fraud beyond a reasonable doubt, the Crown must prove both the actus reus and the mens rea. The actus reus of an offence is also known as the “prohibited act.” This act must include an act of deceit, falsehood, or some other fraudulent means.
There must be a corresponding deprivation. The deprivation in a fraud charge is typically the deprivation of money.
The mens rea required is the subjective awareness around the prohibited act that could result in the required deprivation.
In my case, the prosecutor’s theory was that my client impersonated an individual (part of the prohibited act). Through the impersonation, my client was said to have communicated with tenants in order to collect rent money. It was said he did this by accepting email money transfers. Through these acts, it was said that he committed the prohibited act and created the corresponding deprivation.
The difficulty for the prosecution centered on the evidence. I planned an attack on the evidence she wanted to admit at court with respect to the emails and the production orders (bank statements). This assisted me in hampering her ability to prove that it was my client that was allegedly behind the keyboard. It also meant she wouldn’t be able to prove my client’s identity.
Technology and applications have significantly changed the way money is transferred daily. The court system is trying to catch up but isn’t quite there yet. Law enforcement agents (police officers/detectives) typically obtain bank records via production orders (court orders issued by judges). However, now people are transferring money with applications such as Google Pay, PayPal, Venmo and the like. Organizations like these are cloud-based and usually international. This complicates the production order process. It also has an impact on the admissibility of these documents.
This case demonstrates how ordinary people transfer money and how a person could be accused of a serious crime. Just by accepting an email money transfer, you could be the subject of an investigation and ultimately accused of a crime. It is important to have a skilled criminal defence lawyer who understands the rules of evidence and who can determine the best possible defence strategy. Mr. O was smart. He found himself in trouble. He contacted Ross Lutz Barristers and worked with his lawyer and got the best possible result. All charges were withdrawn. He is no longer facing a criminal conviction, jail, or deportation.
If you are facing a fraud charge, like in the case of R v O, know that it is a serious allegation. Contact Ross Lutz Barristers. We are serious lawyers who defend serious charges every single day.
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