Theft / Fraud

In Winnipeg, there are two categories that fall under the “theft” umbrella as outlined in the Criminal Code. The first is theft or fraud, which is the lesser of the two charges. The second is breach of trust theft. If you are accused of a breach of trust theft, there are harsher penalties and consequences for being convicted.

What is a breach of trust theft?

The distinction between a theft or fraud charge and a breach of trust theft is that there is a relationship of trust established between the person who steals and the person that they steal from. Most breach of trust cases involve “white-collar crimes” or those that involve employer/employee theft.

Those who are accused of breach of trust theft and who have stolen from their employer face stricter consequences, with prosecutors typically seeking jail time – even for a first offense. The reason for the severity attached to breach of trust versus a usual theft and fraud case is that public policy seeks to protect employers from those they employ by making the punishment for theft harsher.

Thefts over $5,000 versus under $5,000

Breach of trust crimes are typically those that are over $5000; there is not just intent, but the crime takes place over an extended period, instead of being an impulsive act. Breach of theft charges often are accompanied by fraud charges, depending on the circumstances related to the theft. If you are convicted of fraud, it is a more serious charge that can come with significant penalties and jail time. A conviction will also limit your employment options for the future. As it results in a criminal record, being convicted might also affect your immigration status and your reputation.

Theft charges are broken down into two categories: thefts that involve less than $5000 and those that are more than $5000. Thefts that are less than $5000 are typically considered a “property offense” and a minor crime. That does not mean, however, that being convicted of a theft or fraud under $5000 isn’t serious. If convicted, it can also limit your employment and career opportunities. Crimes that tend to fall in the $5000 or under category are price-switching, retail theft, and shoplifting.

If you are charged with theft or fraud in Canada, it is a criminal offense that can affect your reputation, your employment opportunities, and sometimes even your freedom. Since criminal charges can affect your future, it is imperative that you hire a professional criminal defense lawyer who specializes in the complexity of theft and fraud, especially if you are charged with theft of over $5000. Since one offense can lead to jail time, having a criminal defense attorney from the law offices of evaluate your case can help you decide what to do next.