Regina v. H.A.M. [Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Calgary – April 2017]

This was a multimillion dollar fraud prosecution involving Canadian chartered banks.  The fraudulent scheme alleged in each case was essentially the same:

  1. A so-called “straw-buyer” with good credit would be recruited by HAM and a mortgage application thereafter submitted in the name of that person.
  2. The mortgage application would include confirmation of “employment” as well as CRA Notices of Assessment.
  3. Mortgage proceedings would be advanced in the name of the straw-buyer and title to the residential property would be held in their name.
  4. The mortgage proceeds would be drained from the property.
  5. The mortgage would ultimately devolve into foreclosure.
  6. The straw-buyer would be left holding the proverbial bag.
  7. The bank would be out a substantial amount of $$$.

Patrick Fagan elected trial by way of Queen’s Bench with a preliminary inquiry. Given the complexity of this prosecution, the preliminary inquiry was scheduled for two full weeks. At the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry Patrick Fagan pressed for a discharge on all charges.  The Judge presiding at the preliminary inquiry refused to grant a discharge.

Between committal to stand trial at the end of preliminary inquiry and the scheduling of a trial in Queen’s Bench, however, the Crown took the time to review the evidence at the preliminary inquiry as well as Patrick Fagan’s closing submissions. The Crown ultimately decided that it was one thing to obtain an order to stand trial at the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry and quite another to prove all the requisite elements of each offence beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

Bottom Line: Before scheduling a trial date in Queen’s Bench the Crown (based on its review aforesaid) concluded that there was no reasonable likelihood of a conviction and killed this multimillion dollar fraud prosecution in its entirety by directing a stay of proceedings .