Fraud is a very simple concept. It is the act of deceit and is entirely human. People lie for a variety of reasons, not least of which is to gain some form of economic or other advantage.
What is not so simple is detecting and unraveling the myriad fraudulent commercial schemes that people have perpetrated (and will, undoubtedly, continue to perpetrate), a task increasingly made more arduous as a result of the increased complexity of technology, financial instruments and the global economy, and the interconnectedness thereof. There are a number of recent, high-profile examples of such sophisticated alleged frauds, including those involving Bernie Madoff and R. Allen Stanford. The economic and non-economic losses that can arise from modern day frauds can be staggering.
There are several criminal penalties that address acts of fraud and theft. There is also a world of fraud detection and investigation best left to legal authorities, regulators, forensic accountants and others. This article’s focus is on the legal tools available in a civil and insolvency context when a fraud has either been suspected or discovered. The intention of this paper is to provide a general overview of some of the more common legal remedies available to combat fraud in Canada.
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