Many lawyers shy away from defending persons accused of financial crimes on account of what they perceive to be dry cases. Indeed, much of the prosecutorial materials will involve a paper trial which may seem like more work than its worth. The disclosure on many of these prosecutions can span boxes upon boxes; a recent case handled by Mr. Lewandowski involved one terabyte of computerized information, all of which had to be reviewed carefully. Regardless, much of Mr. Lewandowskis practice is geared towards defending these types of crimes. Mr. Lewandowski has a background in computer programming, and his undergraduate studies were in accounting, finance, business and information systems. Thus, the technical nature and legal challenges presented by such prosecutions are relished by Mr. Lewandowski and his team.
Financial crimes include fraud, theft, extortion, arson, tax evasion, failing to file tax returns, laundering, possession of proceeds of crime and breach of trust. Not all of these offences are created by the Criminal Code. In fact, many serious crimes are contained in the Income Tax Act, Excise Tax Act, and the Copyright Act, amongst others. Irrespective of the governing statute, the Court of Appeal has made it quite clear that in cases where there is a high level of organization, or in cases involving breaches of trust against an employer, jail will be imposed. Stiff sentences exist to discourage the financial motive underpinning these crimes. Upon being charged, the accused quickly realizes that the governing legislation is inordinately complex. As an example, the Excise Tax Act has 363 sections, with 57 sets of regulations setting out rules concernign the HST, electronic filing, disclosure, indexing ratios and so on. Each set of regulations contains hundreds of rules therein. If charged with a financial crime, counsel should be retained immediately. There are often damage control measures that can be undertaken to mitigate the potential disruption to your life. Failing that, there are technical or substantive defences that can be argued. Below are a sampling of financial cases that Mr. Lewandowski has dealt with.