White-Collar Crimes In The COVID-19 Pandemic
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The recent decision in R v Scholz, 2020 BCPC 120,
serves as a reminder that white collar crimes, which are often said
to “fly under the radar”, are continuing to be
In Scholz, which was decided on June 18, 2020, the
Court found that Michael Scholz, a wealthy executive, had submitted
forged documentation to the Canada Revenue Agency in support of
certain claimed GST tax credits related to the design and
construction of a luxury home. The Court held that using the forged
documentation, Mr. Scholz had knowingly claimed GST tax credits to
which he was not entitled. As a result, Mr. Scholz was found guilty
of three counts of violating the Excise Tax Act and two
counts of violating the Criminal Code.
Although Mr. Scholz has yet to be sentenced, the offences of
forgery and uttering a forged document carry a potential sentence
of up to ten years in prison. The tax evasion offences result in
fines and the Court may impose sentences of up to five years in
As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, individuals and
entities will be looking to improve their financial positions and
the CRA will be looking to recover on its significant investment in
combating tax evasion. Over the coming months, we expect to see an
increase in investigations and prosecutions for white-collar crimes
generally, and tax evasion in particular. The example of
Scholz underscores the serious penal repercussions for
engaging in such crimes and the need to seek legal advice should
one be subject to these white-collar crime investigations.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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