Toronto Lawyers for Victims of Fraud
Loss from Deceit, Fraudulent Misrepresentation, Theft or Embezzlement

Employee Fraud | Fraud on Not For Profits and Charities | Investment Fraud | Mortgage Fraud
Construction and Property Fraud | Computer Fraud | Online Fraud | Internet Fraud
Fraudulent Conveyance and Asset Tracing | Breach of Trust and Fiduciary Duties | Identity Theft
Marriage Fraud | Dating and Relationship Fraud | Fraud on Family Member

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 2,000 reported decisions of the courts in Canada including more than 1,100 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:

“With Insurance Bureau of Canada estimates of insurance fraud in Canada north of $500 million a year, the cost of inaction is clear.  Cost/Benefit analyses solely focused on a case by case assessment often fail to take into account for the far greater aggregate costs of maintaining a passive system of non-deterrence.” Insurance Fraud: See No Evil & Pay The Piper, John Davis, Managing Partner, Gilbertson Davis LLP, blog post May 4, 2014

We have acted for insurance companies in responding to fraudulent claims.  These can comprise exaggerated claims of loss, injury or damage, claims for fabricated, non-existent events and claims for intentional loss and damage, including arson.  The growth of detected automobile accident fraud against insurers has been widely reported.

One of our lawyers has, as leading counsel, obtained summary judgment for an insurer against a plaintiff alleging automobile injury.

Fraudulent investment schemes are widely reported and often described in these terms:

Fraudulent investment operations, Ponzi Schemes, “fresh money” schemes, promoted as “high yield” schemes, “high-yield investment” programs or offshore investments, “pyramid” and matrix schemes, “franchise” and distribution fraud schemes, and internet-based pyramid scams.

Through the engagement of qualified forensic accountants and investigators, including Certified Fraud Examiners, a simple review of documentation in a case may establish that the scheme or investment is likely fraudulent.  In some cases the court does not require the assistance of an expert opinion to conclude on a balance of probabilities that the scheme of investment is fraudulent.

Fraudsters may be using your lost investment / funds to defend a case against them.  You require experienced, senior counsel in a civil action for recovery of monies in a case of investment fraud.

Real estate fraud and property investment fraud is widespread.

It can take the form of a scheme where there is no intention of those entrusted with an investment to make the promised transfer, mortgage, building or development of the property. Other times those perpetrating a fraud wrongfully and without the knowledge or consent of the victim, through forgery or other wrongful acts, transfer or place a mortgage or charge on the property of the victim. Often this type of fraud is tied to relationship fraud, where the trust of the victim has been gained and then the victim falls prey to a fraud. Versions of real estate fraud are sometimes known as title fraud, mortgage and foreclosure fraud and online real estate scams.

If you are, or consider that you may be the victim of a fraud, do not delay in obtaining legal advice from lawyers who have experience in acting for victims in these types of cases.

Charities and Not For Profit entities focus their efforts on helping those less fortunate or who have suffered losses. Unfortunately, this generosity can sometimes be taken advantage of, and charities and Not For Profits may not be well-suited for the prevention or discovery of fraud or obtaining a remedy when they are victims of fraudulent activity. When that occurs, obtaining prompt and cost-effective legal representation is a top priority.
Charities can be susceptible to many of the same kinds of fraudulent activity as any other entity, however some unique vulnerabilities for charities include:
  • individuals and entities fraudulently claiming to meet requirements for potential recipients
  • fictitious employees or recipients
  • false accounting of payments
  • misappropriation of charitable funds by employees, contractors, and affiliates
  • using charities for money laundering and other illicit purposes

Our team of lawyers can effectively represent and advise Not For Profits who are victims of fraud, including obtaining urgent injunctive relief where required, often in order to identify, locate and preserve stolen or misappropriated funds.

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.

 

We have strength and experience in advising foreign clients involved in litigation or arbitration in Ontario and across its borders.

Some of our lawyers have been admitted and practised law in foreign jurisdictions (including England, Bermuda and New York), have both foreign and local legal education, including in the U.S. and U.K. and a number of our lawyers and law clerks speak languages including French, Japanese, Portuguese, Italian, Russian and Cantonese.

We are often consulted by those located in the United States, and in the past have been consulted by or retained in litigation by those (or matters located) in Alaska, California, Washington, Nebraska, Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Louisiana, Florida and Texas. Internationally, we have also been involved in litigation or arbitration with clients (or matters) located in the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, England, Denmark, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Monaco, Guyana, Liberia, South Africa, Angola, The Bahamas, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Iran, Kuwait, India, Bangladesh, South Korea, Hong Kong, PRC and Australia.

We can act for foreign clients where the courts in Ontario or Canada (Federal Court) have jurisdiction.  We can also assist foreign counsel in co-ordinated fraud recovery proceedings, when the defendant or assets owned by the defendant are located in Ontario.  This is sometimes achieved by obtaining local Ontario ancillary, urgent relief in aid of proceedings pending in other jurisdictions.  Other times it is assisting through the court process in obtaining, through judicial assistance, evidence in Ontario for lawyers acting in foreign jurisdictions.

We have acted in proceedings in Ontario to seek recognition and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards.

If you or your business are the victim of fraud or facing fraudulent claims, please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP for an initial consultation.

Please contact Gilbertson Davis LLP to arrange an initial consultation.