Bruce Engel of Engel and Associates criminal lawyers in Ottawa explains why it’s important to get a lawyer’s advice when you think you may be accused of fraud.
More often than not, a fraud charge will sneak up on you. For instance, you can be engaged in fraud by depriving your employer, and you may get a call from corporate security. He has a question about a transaction that could be in the context of just a general audit. You may say, “Well, I’ve done something wrong but they don’t think anything is wrong. They’re just auditing me and asking me questions.” You know that you have to really strike a balance about how much to cooperate, because if you refuse you could lose your job or make people even more suspicious. My best advice is to contact an experienced criminal lawyer early. If you have committed a fraud and you are questioned about it, even in an indirect fashion in the context of an employer’s audit, and you have a very serious concerns about what you’ve done and feel you may make things worse by providing further information, that’s when you contact someone like me. This is the point that you need to make a decision that will have a big impact on what is ahead.
The best example I can give you is a client of mine who called me and said, “Corporate security has called and they fired me and they want to ask me certain questions about what I did.” I handled it from this point on spoke to the company. Corporate security was about two or three days away from getting the file together, referring it to the police, and charging my client with fraud. Rather than go that route, we made a deal with corporate security whereby my client paid money back and avoided a criminal charge.
Now, that doesn’t always happen, but the sooner you get a lawyer involved, the better chance you have of avoiding a very nasty criminal process. An accusation of fraud doesn’t always begin with a call from the police. The person can get a call from an unhappy victim who threatens to go to the Better Business Bureau or the police. They could get a call from their employer who has a problem with an account. They might get a call from a government agency. In all of these cases, your best choice is to go to an experienced criminal lawyer as soon as possible. He or she may be in a position to resolve things without the matter proceeding much further and maybe avert a criminal charge altogether.
The key point is it’s never too early to contact a lawyer for two reasons; number one, you may be able to fix the problem, and number two, you may have a better night’s sleep.
If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with criminal law issues in the Ottawa, Ontario Region, .