Penalties and Sentencing for Wire, Mail, and Telemarketing Fraud

Penalties and Sentencing for Wire, Mail, and Telemarketing Fraud

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, fraud has become a huge business in Canada. This anti-fraud centre has reported that over 107 million dollars were lost to scams and fraudsters by Canadians in 2020. Fraud is basically committed through diverse media like the internet, telephones, email, television, and radio, and is termed as wire, mail, and telemarketing fraud.

Fraud unlike theft is committed with the intention to deceive the public or give a false representation. Individuals committing any of these frauds will face penalties and sentencing for these frauds. Let us discuss each of these frauds and the penalties and sentencing associated with each fraud.   

Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is a federal offence as per the Criminal Code under which an individual or a party is defrauded using electronic communication like emails, phone calls, chat rooms, and fax. The fraudster makes use of deception techniques to unlawfully gain money or other benefits from the victim. In this type of fraud, money is transferred from an organization or individual account to a fraudster’s account over the phone or email. Some common examples of wire fraud include online phishing, credit card fraud, identity theft, telemarketing scams, etc. and these crimes are punishable with severe penalties.   

Penalties and Sentencing for Wire Fraud

Wire fraud is an offence and the penalties and sentencing depend on whether the public or a person is defrauded. Fraud cases of over $5,000 are considered to be criminal acts in Canada and fraud of under $5,000 may either be a civil or criminal act. In civil fraud cases, no prosecutor is present and the plaintiff sues the defendant for damages. In civil fraud cases, fraudsters are forced to pay damages that are claimed along with fees if any. However, in criminal wire fraud cases, the fraudster is either charged a fine or given jail time, as there is a maximum penalty of fourteen years imprisonment. A minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of two years is imposed on the fraudster if the total value of the fraud exceeds one million dollars.

Mail Fraud

It is a type of fraud involving mail and goods or money transfer from an individual or organization to a fraudster. This type of fraud is common during the Christmas holiday season when an increasing number of people send gifts or money through the mail. Fraudsters generally target cash, credit cards, cheque, or bank cards. Under the criminal code, this offence is covered by offences against the rights of property.

Penalties and Sentencing for Mail Fraud

Under section 356 of the Criminal Code, the fraudster will face charges if he/she steals anything sent by post and this fraud is treated as a hybrid offence. However, the penalties depend on the seriousness of the offence. Mail fraud or a crime under $5,000, is a less serious crime and is treated as a summary offence. There are no mandatory minimums for mail fraud and if the Crown proceeds by indictment, then the fraudster can face a maximum prison term of ten years if he/she has a criminal record.

Telemarketing Fraud

Telemarketing is a type of fraud in which innocent people are victimized through deceptive or dishonest conduct. This fraud is usually committed using the telephone or telephone call centre and offences can be committed across the state and national boundaries that make prosecution difficult.

Penalties for Telemarketing Fraud

The Canadian Radio-television and Communications Commission or CRTC takes this fraud seriously. If a person is found involved in this fraud then that person can be fined up to $1,500 per violation. If an individual or a business is involved in a violation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation, then the individual can be fined up to $1 million per violation and businesses can be fined up to $10 million per violation.


It is essential for the accused of mass-marketing fraud to know and understand the charges and penalties, as these frauds may cause damage to the accused if it is not handled properly. Fraud of over $5000 is considered a serious offence and Individuals charged with this offence will carry this charge throughout. It will stay in their permanent record and affect their job prospect and even cross-border travel. Thus, individuals should seek help and assistance from experienced criminal lawyers in Brampton having a decade of experience in handling such cases.

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