Fraud lawyers

This was said more than four hundred years ago by English Lord Coke. However, given the number of prominent and recently reported cases of civil fraud in the courts of Ontario and Canada and the frequency of reports in the media of those falling victim to civil fraud, it is easy to conclude that civil fraud and dishonesty has increased in Ontario, or that more victims of fraud are coming forward to seek redress for their losses.

What is Fraud?

An often quoted English law textbook defines fraud this way:

“All surprise, trick, cunning … and other unfair way that is used to cheat any one is considered as fraud. Fraud in all cases implies a willful act on the part of any one, whereby another is sought to be deprived, by illegal or inequitable means, of what he is entitled to.” Kerr on the Law of Fraud and Mistake, 7th ed. (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1952) at p. 1

In Ontario, civil lawsuits for the victims of fraud are often framed as claims for deceit, fraudulent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, civil extortion, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and restitution. Increasingly though, plaintiffs in lawsuits simply claim damages for losses arising directly from the tort of civil fraud.

The leading case on civil fraud in Canada is the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, and in that case civil fraud is defined this way:

“… the tort of civil fraud has four elements, which must be proven on a balance of probabilities: (1) a false representation by the defendant; (2) some level of knowledge of the falsehood of the representation on the part of the defendant (whether knowledge or recklessness); (3) the false representation caused the plaintiff to act; (4) the plaintiff’s actions resulted in a loss.”

Hryniak v. Mauldin – Access to Justice in a Civil Fraud Case
Although our firm did not act in that case, one of the lawyers at our firm, who practises in the areas of civil fraud recovery, appeared as co-counsel for the thirteen plaintiffs (one of which was Mauldin) who responded to the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak v. Mauldin, responded below to the appeal in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and who obtained summary judgment in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, being the judgment which was appealed.

This case has had such a significant impact, including with respect to the access to justice, that it has, in the course of three years since the decision was released, been cited in more than 2,300 reported decisions of the courts in Canada including more than 1,500 in Ontario alone.
We can act in Ontario, Canada for local and foreign individuals, businesses, organizations and associations who have been defrauded.
How Common is Civil Fraud?
“Fraud and deceit abound in these days more than in former times.” Twyne’s Case (1602), 3 Co. 80

This was said more than four hundred years ago by English Lord Coke. However, given the number of prominent and recently reported cases of civil fraud in the courts of Ontario and Canada and the frequency of reports in the media of those falling victim to civil fraud, it is easy to conclude that civil fraud and dishonesty has increased in Ontario, or that more victims of fraud are coming forward to seek redress for their losses.

What is Fraud?

An often quoted English law textbook defines fraud this way:

“All surprise, trick, cunning … and other unfair way that is used to cheat any one is considered as fraud. Fraud in all cases implies a willful act on the part of any one, whereby another is sought to be deprived, by illegal or inequitable means, of what he is entitled to.” Kerr on the Law of Fraud and Mistake, 7th ed. (London: Sweet and Maxwell, 1952) at p. 1

In Ontario, civil lawsuits for the victims of fraud are often framed as claims for deceit, fraudulent misrepresentation, civil conspiracy, civil extortion, breach of contract, unjust enrichment and restitution. Increasingly though, plaintiffs in lawsuits simply claim damages for losses arising directly from the tort of civil fraud.

The leading case on civil fraud in Canada is the Supreme Court of Canada decision in 2014 in Hryniak v. Mauldin, 2014 SCC 7, and in that case civil fraud is defined this way:

“… the tort of civil fraud has four elements, which must be proven on a balance of probabilities: (1) a false representation by the defendant; (2) some level of knowledge of the falsehood of the representation on the part of the defendant (whether knowledge or recklessness); (3) the false representation caused the plaintiff to act; (4) the plaintiff’s actions resulted in a loss.”

Hryniak v. Mauldin – Access to Justice in a Civil Fraud Case
Although our firm did not act in that case, one of the lawyers at our firm, who practises in the areas of civil fraud recovery, appeared as co-counsel for the thirteen plaintiffs (one of which was Mauldin) who responded to the appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada in Hryniak v. Mauldin, responded below to the appeal in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and who obtained summary judgment in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, being the judgment which was appealed.

This case has had such a significant impact, including with respect to the access to justice, that it has, in the course of three years since the decision was released, been cited in more than 2,300 reported decisions of the courts in Canada including more than 1,500 in Ontario alone.

Victims of Fraud
Though the types of fraud known to have been perpetrated and dealt with by the courts is in no way comprehensive, civil fraud often affects these individuals and companies:

Advance fee fraud
Bank account fraud
Bond fraud
Business fraud and dishonesty
Business opportunity fraud
Breach of Trust
Capacity to Marry
Cheque payee is fictitious or non-existing person
Computer Fraud
Contractor, sub-contractor and employee fraud
Construction fraud
Cryptocurrency Fraud
Dating Fraud
Directors and Officers Fraud on a Company – including Theft, Embezzlement, and Misappropriation of Assets and Opportunities
Employees Fraud on Employers – including Theft, Embezzlement and Schemes
False accounting fraud
False and fraudulent cheques
False Invoice fraud
Fraud on Family Member
Forgery and Forged Documents
Franchise fraud
Fraud by Trustees, Executors and Professionals Who Breach Trust – including Fraudulent Concealment
Fraud on Creditors – including Fraudulent Conveyance
Fraud on Elderly, Seniors and Vulnerable Victims
Identity Theft and Credit Repair
Inheritance Fraud
Insurance Fraud
Internet / Online Fraud – including Relationship, Dating and Marriage Fraud
Investment Fraud
Loan Fraud
Mortgage Fraud
Misappropriation of Funds
Online Dating Fraud
Online Dating Scam
Phone Scams
Ponzi Schemes
Predatory Marriage
Pre-payment Fraud
Prime Bank Guarantee Fraud
Prime Rate Investment Fraud
Property Investment Fraud
Real Estate Fraud
Relationship Fraud
Relationship Scam
Romance Fraud
Romance Scam
Securities Fraud
Share Sale Fraud
Telephone Scams
Timeshare Fraud
White Collar Fraud
Insurance Fraud
Investment Fraud | Securities Fraud
Real Estate Fraud, Mortgage Fraud and Property Investment Fraud
Fraud of Charities and Not For Profits
Remedies
“Things gained through unjust fraud are never secure.” Sophocles

We have lawyers experienced in civil fraud recovery actions and in the defence of fraudulent claims. Our lawyers have been counsel in cases for recovery for innocent victims of investment fraud, acting for employers in employment fraud cases and in cases defending insurers against fraudulent claims made against them. One of our lawyers acts for victims of identity theft.

Often claims by victims of fraud require experienced counsel to assist the victim in seeking from the court urgent equitable remedies such as civil freezing orders (Mareva injunctions), civil search and preservation of evidence from third parties (Norwich orders) and civil “search warrants” (Anton Piller orders). Asset tracing orders are used to obtain recovery in cases where fraud has been established and the victim’s assets have been converted into other property. Our lawyers who practise in this area have experience in these proceedings.