White Collar Crime

What you need to know

Investigations into white collar crime in Canada are becoming increasingly more prominent. Corporate entities and their actors, more and more, are subject to serious criminal and regulatory prosecutions. These types of prosecutions are often extremely complex and time consuming.

A successful defence to ‘white collar’ crimes, whether criminal or regulatory in nature, requires experienced and organized counsel. The lawyers at Dunn and Associates are experienced in dealing with voluminous and complex matters.

Terms and definitions

Ponzi Scheme: a form of fraud in which belief in the success of a nonexistent enterprise is fostered by the payment of quick returns to the first investors from money invested by later investors.

Pyramid Scheme: A pyramid scheme is a business model that recruits members via a promise of payments or services for enrolling others into the scheme, rather than supplying investments or sale of products or services. As recruiting multiplies, recruiting becomes quickly impossible, and most members are unable to profit; as such, pyramid schemes are unsustainable and often illegal.

Tax Evasion: Tax evasion in a crime in which an individual or entity intentionally underpays, or avoids paying, taxes.

Insider Trading: Insider trading is often considered a type of fraud, though many people are surprised to learn that not all insider trading is illegal. Insider trading is against the law if a securities transaction, which is the sale or purchase of stocks, is engaged in by a person, or small group of people, inside the company, who have special knowledge not available to others.

Fraud: Fraud is committed by misrepresenting facts in order to gain something in return. Examples may include bank fraud; insurance fraud;

Bribery: Bribery is committed when a person uses something of value to tempt or influence someone to act in a specific way, to make certain decisions, or to express certain opinions.


Relatively recent amendments to the Criminal Code Canada have removed the possibility of obtaining a conditional sentence order (house arrest) for any fraud over $5000. These recent amendments also include a minimum sentence of two-years jail where someone is found guilty of a fraud in excess of one million dollars.

Additionally, factors such as the complexity, magnitude and degree of planning involved in a fraud; the number of victims; and the personal circumstances of victims are to be considered aggravating factors on sentencing if convicted.

How we can help

Our firm can help by managing the complexity of the prosecution and by preparing a litigation strategy that will ensure the best possible outcome for our client(s).

This occurs through an extensive review and organization of the evidence gathered during the investigation stage (disclosure). Once this review is complete a strategy will be implemented that may include negotiations with the Crown and/or preparation for trial.

Negotiated Resolution:
Generally, large and complex frauds result in several, if not dozens, of charges. Often these charges are laid against multiple individuals or corporate entities. In some circumstances a negotiated resolution (plea deal) may be the best outcome.

A negotiated resolution may include agreeing to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for other charges being dropped and would seek to avoid or reduce jail time and restitution depending on the seriousness of the charges.

Taking your matter to trial means having the Crown Prosecutor prove your guilt. White collar crime cases are complex and almost never black and white. More often than not, there will be evidentiary and legal issues at trial that will give rise to potential defences. Our lawyers will challenge the charges against you in a number of ways, including:

  • Challenging the facts and circumstances of your arrest.
  • Interpreting criminal and regulatory laws in your favour. We argue the law and an precedent in a way which is most favourable to your specific case and fact scenario. This is achieved through careful and diligent legal research and application, which only comes with years of legal experience.
  • Applying Violations of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Every Canadian Citizen and every person within the borders of Canada is entitled to the protection of our Constitution, and more specifically to the rights guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A violation of your constitutionally protected rights and freedoms which results in evidence (documents; bank account information; employment information, etc.) being seized by way of production orders or search warrants could be excluded from evidence at your trial and may render it impossible for the Crown to prove the case against you.

Call us. We can help.

If you have been charged with a ‘white collar’ crime give our Calgary lawyers a call. Your freedom is our focus.