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Blaming the victim: Contributory negligence

Region: Ontario Answer # 1522

Often, fraud victims are so embarrassed by what has happened to them that this prevents them from telling anyone, or reporting it to police.  Because it is not always clear whether someone is a victim of a fraud or a reckless investor, police and the Crown prosecutor can be reluctant to pursue fraud cases.

Contributory negligence – Not a defence to fraud

In an effort to discourage victims from moving forward with their case, fraudsters often accuse fraud victims of contributory negligence, meaning the victim is to blame. Contributory negligence is generally a defence to a claim based on negligence. It is the failure of an injured plaintiff to act prudently, which is considered to be a contributory factor in the injury suffered.

However, contributory negligence is not a defence to a fraud allegation.

Lack of due diligence – Not a defence to fraud

Due diligence can be a legal obligation in which a person takes reasonable steps in order to satisfy a legal requirement, or conducts an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract or making a purchase. More commonly, due diligence applies to voluntary investigations, whereby a certain standard of care is taken to establish assets and liabilities, and evaluate the commercial potential of a transaction.

A fraudster who intentionally made misrepresentations in an effort to defraud the victim of their money cannot use a lack of due diligence or reckless investing on the part of the victim as a defence when accused of fraud.

If you discover you are a victim of fraud, it is a good idea to contact a fraud recovery expert for advice.

If you a have a criminal record due to fraud-related charges (or for any other criminal offence), and wish to erase your record, call toll-free 1-888-808-3628 or learn more at Pardon Partners. It’s easier than you think.

Pardon Partners – Fraud ONPardon Partners – Fraud ON


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