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Accountant Harinarain Mathur, 65, Jailed 12 Months for Fraud

Breaking Fraud Cases from the Ontario Courts

On May 18, 2017, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in R. v. Mathur, 2017, ONCA 403, upholding a sentence of 12 months prison for a 65 year old accountant who submitted 292 false tax returns by using the name, social insurance number and date of birth of his clients.

Mr. Mathur’s scheme was perpetrated between 2009 and 2012. Mr. Mathur submitted the returns of his clients without their knowledge, with the refunds to be submitted to his office. He attempted to obtain $343,849, but actually only collected $35,321 from CRA.

The Crown had sought a 16 to 18 month jail sentence. Counsel for Mr. Mathur sought a 12 month conditional sentence (house arrest). Mr. Mathur did not have a criminal record. He had family support and was seeking psychological counselling. Mr. Mathur offered restitution.

The Court, and later the Court of Appeal, rejected Mr. Mathur’s request for house arrest. With respect to restitution, the Crown did not seek it, and no restitution order was made. Mr. Mathur was a bankrupt. Although restitution was offered, it was not paid.

“Large scale fraud”

The Courts held that even a fraud of $35,321, where $343,849 was at risk, was a “large scale fraud.” The “large scale fraud” and the breach of trust made general deterrence the primary sentencing goal, and rehabilitation a secondary sentencing goal.

Norman Groot, a fraud recovery lawyer in Toronto with Investigation Counsel PC, noted that “while restitution addresses important goals of sentencing such as providing reparations for harm done to victims, and promoting a sense of responsibility in offenders, and while making restitution is an important step in rehabilitation, an offer of restitution by an old bankrupt is not worth much.”

The Court of Appeal was of the same mind. The Court stated that the bottom line is that emphasis must be placed on “general deterrence and denunciation” when it comes to large scale fraud.

To review the Court of Appeal decision, see: CanLII

The trial decision in this case in 2014 was reported at Mortgage Broker News