Fraud is addressed in a variety of civil and criminal law contexts.
For civil law purposes, fraud may be actual, constructive or statutory. Actual fraud is the intentional or reckless misrepresentation of fact by words, conduct or silence in the face of a duty to disclose, which deceives another and causes that other legal injury. A person who relied on a fraudulent misrepresentation and suffered injury may sue the deceiver for damages in TORT. A contract induced by fraud may be avoided by the deceived party, who may also claim damages for losses caused by the fraud. The constructive fraud doctrine protects vulnerable parties in certain relationships. Conduct is deemed to be fraudulent and injured parties may avoid induced transactions and claim restitutionary damages in cases of undue influence, abuse of confidence, unconscionable bargain or fraud on powers. Various statutes, such as creditors' rights and land titles legislation, provide special definitions of fraud and establish the remedies for and consequences of such conduct.
The Criminal Code penalizes a large number of fraud-related activities. The basic fraud provision is s380(1), which provides that everyone commits an offence who, by deceit, falsehood or other fraudulent means (acts a reasonable person would consider dishonest) defrauds the public or any person of any property, money or valuable security. If the subject matter of the offence is a testamentary instrument (eg, a will) or its value exceeds $5000, the offence is indictable and the maximum sentence is 10 years' imprisonment. Otherwise, the prosecution may elect to proceed either by indictment, and seek a maximum penalty of 2 years' imprisonment, or by summary conviction procedure. The Criminal Code establishes offences for particular frauds, including stock market manipulations, mail fraud, fraudulent property transactions, fraud concerning trademarks, conveyances of property to defeat creditors, falsification of records, impersonation and criminal breach of contract.