Financial Exploitation of Crime 1996



I. INTRODUCTION

[1] This paper will provide and discuss various legislative options for dealing with the financial exploitation of crime.

[2] F or the purposes of this topic, the term "financial exploitation of crime" has a specific meaning. Although there are many crimes that are committed in order to obtain a financial benefit, the term does not refer to the direct benefits that criminals can obtain through the commission of a crime but the indirect benefits that some criminals can acquire through recounting the crime after it has been committed. This distinction is an important one, since the prevention of direct profits of crime is within the legitimate jurisdiction of the federal Parliament under section 91(27) of the Constitution Act, 1867. It is submitted, however, that the regulation and prevention of indirect profits.not being concerned with the prevention of the crime itself but only with things that are themselves legal.is within provincial legislative jurisdiction.1

[3] Although legislators in the United States and in Canada seem to have two motivations for enacting this legislation.to prevent the criminal from making money from his or her crime and to assist victims of crime.it is submitted that the former is the real motivation for this legislation. This submission is supported by the following points. First, the law already gives people who have suffered harm as a result of a criminal act a number of different ways of obtaining compensation. 2 Second, legislation that deals with the financial exploitation of crime only applies to victims of crime rather than to all victims. Third, legislation prohibiting the exploitation of crime seems always to arise to prevent a criminal from making money from his or her crime rather than to ensure that victims of crime are being properly compensated.  3 Finally, if the legislative debates for the introduction of legislation in Ontario are examined, it is clear that the overriding concern for the legislators in that province is that criminals not be allowed to profit from their crimes. 4

[4] Once it is accepted that the primary purpose of the legislation is to prevent criminals from profiting from their crime, the other motivation can be seen in its true light. That is, once the state takes away from criminals the profits that they have earned through the exploitation of their crimes, it usually decides to give at least some of that money to the victims rather than keeping it themselves. This approach is probably taken at least as much from a good political sense as it is from a sense of justice that victims have the first right to such money.

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