R. v. C.M.
1) Fraud Over $5,000.00;
3) Use Forged Document as if Genuine
The client was charged with fraud over $5,000.00 by allegedly running what is commonly known as a Ponzi Scheme. This is a scheme in which targeted investors are convinced to hand over increasingly larger and larger amounts of money in the hope of continuing to receive high returns. In reality, the person running the Ponzi Scheme is paying investors, what appears to be interest, out of their own capital investment or the capital investment of other persons. There is no actual investment into which the funds are put. Eventually, the cycle cannot sustain itself and the person running the scheme just disappears with as much money as possible.
I was able to convince the Crown that there were various evidentiary issues that resulted in the Crown not having a reasonable prospect of conviction with respect to the charge of fraud over $5,000.00. The Ponzi Scheme charge was therefore not proceeded with by the Crown.
The client’s trial commenced in the Superior Court of Justice before a Judge sitting without a jury. This was not the type of case in which it made any sense to have a jury since the client had a technical defence to the remaining perjury charge and a mistake of fact defence to the remaining charge of using a forged document as if genuine.
Mid-way through the trial, once the evidence of the main Crown witness had been heard, I was able to convince the Crown that there was no reasonable prospect of conviction with respect to the perjury charge since the document that was allegedly signed under oath by the client was not a document with respect to which perjury could be committed. There was no common law or statutory requirement for the client to sign the document in question under oath. The Crown abandoned this charge mid-way through the trial and advised the trial Judge that the Crown was not seeking a conviction with respect to this charge. The client was therefore found not guilty of this charge.
The client’s trial was completed with respect to the remaining charge of using a forged document as if genuine. The client did not testify. Instead, I called as a witness the client’s friend whose evidence I used to convince the trial Judge that there was a reasonable doubt that when the client used a document that was admittedly forged, in other words, it was false, he did not know that the document was in fact false. The client was found not guilty.