Canada Revenue Agency Investigations and Hiring an Ontario Criminal Lawyer

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – The Canada Revenue Agency detects and reports possible income tax evasion activity in Ontario. They accomplish this by conducting audits and investigations on tax returns and reviewing documents that the Agency feels might be false. These false tax documents can be created in three ways:

  • Income is understated in order to reduce income tax payment levels.
  • Income goes unreported, even though it was allegedly received by the individual.
  • Ontario Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) is not remitted even though it is owed.

If the Canada Revenue Agency flags your tax returns, their next step may be to audit or investigate you for tax evasion activity. While there may not yet be any criminal charges at this point, it is crucial that you seek the help of a top criminal defence lawyer sooner rather than later.

Wondering why you need a lawyer even though you haven’t been charged? Here are a few good reasons:

  1. You need the help of someone who thoroughly understands the Agency’s guidelines, practices, and structure, and who has experience dealing with them.

Your objective at this point is probably to clear yourself of any involvement in a tax evasion scheme. I must emphasize that this is not something you are equipped to do alone – the Agency’s structure and methods are complicated and you might even accidentally say something that hurts your situation. Let a top criminal lawyer deal with your charges early on and on your behalf.

  1. It’s always smarter to start building your defence as soon as possible.

Don’t lose valuable preparation and fact-gathering time by waiting until you have been charged – get a lawyer who can help you figure out what information is necessary, and help you start to gather that information immediately. You and your lawyer can use these facts and evidence to defend yourself if you are eventually charged.

  1. A lawyer understands your specific tax evasion case.

A top criminal defence lawyer knows the rights you are entitled to when being investigated by the CRA and can ensure your rights are protected. Without proper legal representation, your rights may be violated without you ever knowing it.

If you are being audited or investigated by the Canada Revenue Agency, choosing the best criminal lawyer to represent you is an important decision. For more information, contact the Ottawa white-collar crime lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Fighting Ontario Insider Trading Charges

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Insider trading is a criminal offence in Canada under both the Criminal Code and the Securities Act. For those unfamiliar with the term, insider trading is the act of providing, or acting on, a “tip” concerning the financial future of a publicly-traded company.

There are serious consequences for both those who commit insider trading, and those who provide the tips. If convicted, “tippers” face up to five years in prison. Insider traders themselves could spend up to ten years in prison.

There was a recent piece in the Globe and Mail entitled Ensuring Secrets Stay That Way which discusses the modern framework for prosecuting insider traders and tippers in Ontario. The article discusses the case of Mitchell Finkelstein, an Ontario lawyer recently charged with insider trading.

As the article clearly outlines, an insider trading offence can be extremely difficult to prove – and even more difficult to convict with a prison sentence.

Tips can come from a variety of places. They can come from a corporate “insider” – defined as a senior officer or executive who is privy to major upcoming business decisions such as takeover. They can also come from business lawyers who assist with planning and implementing these major business moves.

The best way to avoid insider trading charges in Ontario is to report any trading you do as an insider. These reporting forms are readily available from the government and give you an opportunity to disclose your status as an insider – preventing you from being prosecuted for doing the trading.

Have you been charged with insider trading, fraud, or any other white-collar criminal offence in Ontario? A top criminal defence lawyer can help you determine the best way to have your charges dropped. For more information, contact the criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Ottawa Lawyer | Fraud Prevention Centre Opens in Ontario

OTTAWA FRAUD LAWYER – As a lawyer who often defends individuals charged with fraud and similar financial offences in Ontario, I took a special interest in the recent opening of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) in North Bay, Ontario.

The CAFC assists with fraud cases in two ways. They take phone calls from victims of suspected fraud schemes – especially potential “mass-marketing” fraud schemes involving telephone scams – and report incidents of alleged fraud.

The other half of the practice is more concerning for Ontario defence lawyers. The CAFC employs a team of 24 intelligence analysts who are paid to dig up the details of alleged fraud schemes. These details are then sent to law-enforcement agencies.

The CAFC’s brand-new web site, http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/, releases monthly reports containing some fascinating statistics on fraud in Canada. Here are some of the stats they’ve shared for October 2010:

  • The centre received calls from 640 Canadian mass-marketing fraud victims, who were defrauded of more than $2 million in total.
  • The centre received a total of 10,653 phone calls in the one month alone.
  • More than 600 of October’s complainants were victims of identity theft and identity fraud.

The existence of this new centre – especially given its intelligence staff – will only serve to make the situation more difficult for those who have been charged with fraud in Ontario. As Canada continues to crack down on fraud and other white-collar crimes, it is important to make sure you understand your rights if you have been investigated or charged.

Are you under investigation, or have already been charged, in connection with a case of fraud in Ontario? You should not proceed alone – get help and advice from a top criminal defence lawyer who has experience handling white-collar crime and fraud cases. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Can Ontario Accountants and Tax-Preparers be Charged and Convicted of Tax Evasion?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Often when an individual is charged with income tax evasion, he or she wasn’t the only one taking care of the tax records. The same goes for business – in many cases, an accountant is involved in preparing tax returns and other tax documents.

As a criminal defence lawyer, a question I sometimes hear is: can an Ontario accountant be charged or eventually convicted for involvement in a client’s tax evasion?

The recent case of R. v. Leo-Mensah served as a poignant reminder that any accountant or financial professional who knowingly assists his or her clients in committing tax evasion can be charged and prosecuted for doing so.

In that case, an Ontario accountant ended up going to court and being convicted. Between 2003 and 2005, he had prepared tax returns for 300 different clients – many of which allegedly contained false claims for charity donations.

The accountant ended up being charged with one charge of fraud and two charges of income tax evasion – the accountant had failed to report income he allegedly received from completing the fraudulent returns. He was convicted of the offences – leading to a large fine and a prison sentence.

So if you are an accountant in Ontario, and one or more of your clients are being investigated or prosecuted for tax evasion, you are not immune from tax evasion charges.

If you are an accountant or professional who is being investigated or charged in connection with income tax evasion, it’s important to speak with a top criminal defence lawyer who can help you understand your rights and advise you on how to proceed. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

How and Why Should I Hire a Lawyer to Fight Ontario Fraud Charges?

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Some of the individuals who come into my office seeking legal counsel are facing charges for fraud, which is a serious Ontario criminal offence. This offence can be defined as gaining money unlawfully through deception.

Possible fraud convictions in Ontario are split into two categories, depending on how much money was involved in the alleged fraud incidence.

  • If you are convicted of fraud over $5000, an Indictable Criminal Offence as outlined by the Criminal Code of Canada, you could be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
  • Fraud under $5000 can be an Indictable Offence under the Code – punishable by a prison sentence of up to two years – or it can be a summary offence, resulting in fines.

Serving time in prison for a fraud conviction would have significant impact on your life and the lives of your family members. This kind of conviction is something you want to avoid at all costs, by fighting the charges against you.

Do I need a criminal defence lawyer to help me fight these charges?

The answer is yes.   Crown prosecutors sometimes have difficulty proving guilt in these cases, so there is often a chance of successfully having your charges dismissed. A number of defences – for example, proving a lack of intent to defraud, or challenging a search warrant – can be employed in order to fight the fraud charges against you.

The reason most people hire a lawyer to help fight fraud charges – and so should you – is that an average person does not have the specialized training and experience to make these complex legal arguments.

How do I go about finding the right criminal defence lawyer for my Ontario fraud case?

Choosing the right criminal defence lawyer to fight your white-collar crime charges should involve a lot of research. Investigate lawyers’ web sites thoroughly to get an idea of how knowledgeable they are on the subject. Here are three things to keep in mind:

  • Does the lawyer have testimonials and case results verifying past wins in fraud cases?
  • Is the lawyer willing to share information on the subject (e.g. books, brochures, consultations)?
  • Is the lawyer willing to represent me in any court across Ontario?

With the right lawyer, you could get your Ontario fraud charges dismissed – and avoid having to pay fines or spend time in prison.

Have you been charged with fraud in Ontario? A top criminal defence lawyer can give you the advice you need to fight your charges. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Illegal Gambling Charges Overturned by Ontario Judge

OTTAWA CRIMINAL DEFENCE LAWYER – Illegal gambling is one of the Ontario criminal charges that some of my clients are facing when they call me for legal consultation.

A conviction for illegal gambling activities – which the Ontario Provincial Police explain can include illegal bookmaking and unauthorized card dens or video lottery machines – could end up with you paying serious fines and penalties, or even serving a prison sentence.

But if your charges were brought against you wrongfully, there is often a practical strategy your lawyer can use to have them dismissed or withdrawn. I have successfully fought all kinds of white collar crime cases, and just recently achieved positive results in an illegal gambling case in Kingston, Ontario.

I was representing a Corrections Canada employee living in Smith’s Falls, who pleaded guilty to the illegal gambling charges against him. However, we were successful in achieving a conditional discharge for the client – including 12 months of probation.

A woman who also pled guilty and was convicted in the same case was forced to pay a $10,000 fine. The story of the withdrawn charges made regional headlines in Eastern Ontario, and you can read the full story online here at the Kingston Whig-Standard’s website.

When it comes to illegal gambling and other serious Ontario white-collar crime charges, sometimes all it takes to avoid a large fine or imprisonment is some help and advice from the best criminal defence lawyer for your case.

Have you been charged with a white-collar crime such as illegal gambling, fraud, or tax evasion? It’s important that you speak with a criminal defence lawyer who can give you valuable advice on how to proceed. For more information, contact the Ottawa lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email at [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Harmonized Sales Tax Evasion in Ontario

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Harmonized sales taxes (HST) were introduced to Ontario earlier this year, and we saw resultant increases in the prices we pay for essential consumer services including:

  • Home renovations;
  • Gasoline;
  • Internet & electricity bills;
  • Consumer goods purchased from restaurants, bars, convenience stores, coffee shops, etc.

With that added pressure on Ontario consumers and their wallets, the temptation is greater to find methods of avoiding tax payments.

These “off-the-books” transactions are illegal and can attract criminal tax evasion. Before the introduction of HST you were required to pay sales tax on purchases, and you are still required to do so – even though the GST and PST have been harmonized.

In early July, the Toronto Star spoke with Ontario’s Revenue Minister John Wilkinson and published an article detailing his views on this subject: Province Warns of the Perils of HST Evasion.

In that article, Wilkinson points out that prosecuting tax evaders in Ontario is easier under HST. Under the old system, one case of suspected evasion had to be examined under two different tax systems at different jurisdictions.

Now that there is a harmonized tax system in effect, Ontario tax evasion cases can be prosecuted efficiently at the provincial level.

If you are being investigated or have been charged in connection with tax evasion in Ontario, it’s important that you speak with an experienced white collar crime and tax evasion lawyer who can help you fight your charges and understand your rights. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.

Criminal Charges Laid in Ontario Lottery Fraud Case

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Lottery fraud charges were laid against a group of relatives on September 29, in a story that made national headlines and has the Ontario Provincial Police scrambling to find the rightful lottery prize winner.

Winning an Ontario lottery through fraud, just like any other form of financial fraud, is an offence punishable under the Criminal Code of Canada.

In the case of the three suspects in this case, the criminal charges laid were very serious and included fraud over $5000, possession of money over $5000 obtained through criminal means, and money laundering. The ticket for which they claimed winnings in 2003 was worth $12.5 million, and the Ontario Provincial Police have already seized $10 million in assets from the fraud suspects.

The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) is the crown corporation responsible for preventing Ontario lottery fraud, in keeping with the corporation’s Lottery Prize Integrity Program.

The fraud prevention rules the OLG has in place may have already begun to change following an Ontario shopkeeper’s admission (earlier this year) to scamming a customer out of lottery winnings.

Gambling online is another big change that could increase Ontario’s incidences of lottery fraud – and complicate the Ontario Provincial Police’s efforts to contain it. In an August 2010 news release, OLG announced it would introduce internet lotteries to its array of gambling options, and it will be interesting to observe how it chooses to handle online fraud cases.

When individuals or groups are suspected of lottery fraud in Ontario, it’s not the OLG that attempts to deal with them – they are charged with criminal offences and tried in criminal court.

If you are being questioned or investigated for possible involvement in an any type of fraud, it’s best to consult a criminal defence lawyer with experience handling fraud and white collar crime cases. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by phone (613) 233-4529 or by email [email protected]

Can I settle my unreported, unpaid taxes to avoid being charged with income tax evasion?

OTTAWA TAX EVASION LAWYER- Can tax evasion be resolved without criminal charges and prosecution, if the taxpayer simply files and pays the taxes owed?

The short answer is this: the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) can and likely will prosecute you after you’ve committed tax evasion – even if you approached them with the intention of settling up.

In a recent online news release, the CRA briefly explained its policy regarding prosecution:

“Individuals who have not filed returns for previous years, or who have not reported all of their income, can still voluntarily correct their tax affairs. They will not be penalized or prosecuted if they make a valid disclosure before they become aware of any compliance action being initiated by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) against them.”

It’s true that you can attempt to make that voluntary correction through the CRA’s Voluntary Disclosures Program. But if the CRA has already learned of possible tax evasion– a good example being the HSBC banking information leak we blogged about last week – it may be a different matter.

If you’ve been evading taxes and the CRA has noticed this activity, you do not have the option of paying back the missed taxes. The agency usually does not hesitate to prosecute these knowing evaders, even if they try to come clean. It’s best to seek legal advice quickly.

If you are being questioned or investigated by the CRA about possible tax evasion, your first step should be speaking with a lawyer experienced in financial crime. For more information, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers at Auger Hollingsworth by email [email protected] or by phone (613) 233-4529.

Canadians May be Accused in Switzerland Tax-Evasion Sweep

OTTAWA WHITE COLLAR CRIME LAWYER – Tax evasion is a serious offence in Canada, and it frequently involves storing money in private off-shore bank accounts.

Over the last few days, the details of many off-shore accounts – namely those with one particular bank in Switzerland – were handed to tax authorities, leaving the account-holders subject to investigation for evading taxes.

A computer security specialist was fired from a HSBC private bank in Switzerland after pleading for more transparency. He provided the French government with the names of roughly 80,000 individuals holding off-shore accounts with the Swiss bank.

Out of the lengthy list of names, a significant 1,785 are Canadians. A spokesperson for Canada’s Minister of National Revenue indicated that French authorities have provided the government with a list of individuals, from that pile, who may be using the accounts for tax evasion purposes.

Tax evasion can take on a number of forms including filing false returns, destroying accounting books, or failing in any other way to comply with the Income Tax Act.

If you are contacted or questionedabout possible involvement with tax evasion or other financial crimes, you should speak with an experienced white-collar crime lawyer about your options, your rights, and how to proceed. For more information on financial crime, contact the Ottawa criminal defence lawyers by email [email protected] or by phone at (613) 233-4529.