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FEDERAL INCOME TAX - Administration and enforcement - Offences - Tax evasion

Friday, September 04, 2020 @ 6:01 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by Cameron from his conviction for fraud and tax evasion. The appellant was the president, secretary and sole director of Venture Trading Inc. (VTI). VTI raised more than $8 million in investment funds. Most investors lost their entire investment. The trial judge admitted an agreed statement of facts made by the appellant as part of his settlement agreement in British Columbia Security Commission administrative proceedings. In the statement, the appellant admitted he falsely represented VTI’s investments. At trial, the appellant testified he was coerced into signing the statement. The trial judge found the appellant led investors to believe VTI was profitable, had created false documents and manipulated data to show VTI was generating profit, and instructed his employees to assure investors their investment would generate a return of two per cent per month. The appellant used investor funds for his personal expenses.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. There was other evidence, besides the agreed statement of facts, which left no doubt the appellant lied to VTI’s investors about their return. The trial judge did not err in permitting the settlement agreement to be used to cross-examine the appellant and in using it in his credibility assessment. The unsworn agreed statement of facts was not protected by s. 13 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Charter). The record did not suggest the appellant was unprepared to testify. The appellant’s assertion that his trial counsel’s defence strategy was doomed to fail was an attempt to resile from his decision to testify. Trial counsel did not fail to object to the admissibility of documents tendered by the Crown. Assuming trial counsel erred in failing to ensure defence documents were in evidence, it was clear that the findings of the trial judge would not have been different had they been entered. Trial counsel’s decision not to bring a Charter application fell within the broad spectrum of professional judgment. The appellant did not establish ineffectiveness of his trial counsel.

R. v. Cameron, [2020] A.J. No. 790, Alberta Court of Appeal, B.L. Veldhuis, J. Strekaf and E.A. Hughes JJ.A., July 22, 2020. Digest No. TLD-August312020010