Fraud

Fraud covers a wide range of activity. In its most simple form it includes obtaining some benefit (like money) through deception, like presenting false identification. At the other end of the spectrum it includes conduct such as the embezzlement of huge sums of money from large corporations. 

The relevant laws set out in the Crimes Act are complex and deal very specifically with the various ways in which fraud can be committed. Because of the complexity of these laws, and the potential for gaol sentences to be imposed if you are convicted, it is highly recommended that you obtain legal advice from an experienced criminal defence lawyer.

BASIC FRAUD

This is the most common fraud charge. It is committed where a person employs some deception and dishonestly:
 

  • Obtains property belonging to another; or

  • Obtains a financial advantage; or

  • Causes a financial disadvantage


You can be convicted of fraud even if you have the intention of paying for the property you obtain. Common examples of this offence include the presentation of a stolen credit card to pay for goods, or cashing cheques belonging to others. The penalty a Court will imposed if you plead guilty or are found guilty will depend on many factors including the complexity of the fraud, the amount of property involved (which includes money) and your personal circumstances including factors such as your financial situation and your criminal record, or lack thereof.

Maximum penalty: 10 years imprisonment

FRAUD BY DESTRUCTION OF ACCOUNTING RECORDS

This is an offence that is typically committed by an employee against an employer. It applies where a person destroys or conceals an accounting record with intent to:
 

  • Obtain property belonging to another, or

  • Obtain a financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage


An example of this offence might be where an employee destroys a record of payment in order to pocket that money. Often the prosecution will need to rely on paper trails in order to prove this kind of offence. It follows that they will often need to prove authorship. These and many other issues ought to be properly assessed by a skilled defence lawyer before you make any decisions about how to deal with your charges. 


Maximum penalty: 5 years imprisonment

FRAUD BY FALSE OR
MISLEADING STATEMENT

There is a lot of conduct that falls within the terms of this offence. To prove the offence, the prosecution must establish that you dishonestly made or published (or concurred in making or publishing) a statement that is false or misleading in a material particular, and that you did so with the intent of:
 

  • Obtaining property belonging to another; or

  • Obtaining financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage


While this sounds complex, a basic example of the offence is where a person drafts an invoice for work which has not been carried out. Another example is where a contractor falsely represents the cost of subcontractors, or resources in order to dishonestly inflate their bill to a client. The seriousness of this kind of offence will hinge heavily on the complexity of the plan to defraud, and the amount of property involved.

Maximum penalty: 5 years imprisonment

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