Area of Law: Fraud and Fraud Recovery
Answer # 1540
What are freezing orders - Mareva injunctions?Region: Ontario Answer # 1540
Freezing orders (commonly referred to as a Mareva injunction) are court orders that victims apply for before the trial. Fraud victims often want to obtain an immediate court order to put a freeze on a fraudster’s bank accounts or prevent them, in some other way, from using or hiding assets. Whether such an order can be obtained depends on a number of considerations, such as:
- how much money is involved,
- whether the victim has enough evidence to show that a fraud has likely taken place, or
- if there are reasons to believe the fraudster will spend or hide the stolen money.
In addition to asking for an order to freeze the fraudster’s accounts, recovery experts will often ask for other orders which will help them get evidence for their case. These other orders are referred to as ancillary orders, and usually include:
- affidavit (sworn statement) from the fraudster, which provides details about their bank accounts, financial documents, and other assets, and
- an order which gives the victim the right to ask the fraudster questions about the things they have sworn are true in the affidavit.
These ancillary orders help the victim to enforce the Mareva injunction. For example, they help the victim to deal with the bank, or other financial institution that may be involved. The bank will receive a copy of the Mareva injunction, be legally able to freeze the fraudster’s assets, and have notice that the order applies to all assets in the control of the fraudster – not just the assets that victim knows about at the time the claim is started.
Before starting the Mareva injunction process, it is important for the victim to evaluate whether they can afford the costs of doing so, especially if it is likely that fraudster will try to have the freezing order set aside.
If you discover you are a victim of fraud, it is a good idea to contact a fraud recovery expert for advice.
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