The distribution and sale of counterfeit goods in Canada, such as counterfeit banknotes, pharmaceutical products and luxury items, has been a growing threat impacting Canadian businesses and consumers.  This prompted the introduction of Bill C-8, the Combating Counterfeit Products Act  (the “Act”), which received Royal Assent on December 9, 2014.  The Act aims to reduce the sale of counterfeit goods and bring Canada in line with international standards in trying to stop counterfeit products from crossing international borders.
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Under section 380.1(1) and (1.1) of the Criminal Code, courts are required to consider the following non-exhaustive list of factors as being aggravating circumstances in the context of fraud:

  • significant magnitude, complexity, duration or degree of planning of the fraud;
  • an actual or potential adverse effect on the Canadian economy or financial system, or on investor confidence;
  • large numbers of victims, particularly if the fraud had a significant impact due to the victims’ personal circumstances;
  • failure to comply with applicable professional standards;
  • concealment or destruction of documents related to the fraud; and
  • whether the total value of fraud exceeds one million dollars.
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As part of Fraud Prevention Month, the RCMP is rolling out tip sheets to help Canadians protect themselves against an ever-growing number of scams and frauds including a list of Top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips.  Many of these tip sheets highlight the role of technology in fraudulent schemes and the importance of ensuring that personal information remains secure and confidential.  For example, the RCMP warns against various forms of online shopping fraud, such as where fraudsters sell products at deeply discounted prices so they can steal the personal information and payment card details of unsuspecting buyers. 
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How do you uncover a suspected fraud when you cannot obtain any information from the suspected fraudster in the first place? And what do you do if the suspected fraudster has avoided complying with a court order to produce documents? One under-utilized strategy is to seek to appoint a receiver over the books and records of the alleged fraudster.
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