Criminal Offences

Fraud

Charges in relation to fraud are perceived as very serious crimes in NSW. There are numerous actions that may be considered fraudulent, all of which have varying degrees of maximum penalties. A recent law reform has simplified and generalised fraud related offences, which can be found under section 192E of the Crimes Act. However, other more specific fraud related offences have are found in various sections of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). As a result, Fraud consist of the following offences:

  • Section 192E – Fraud:
  1. Any person who, by any deception, dishonestly:
    1. Obtains property belonging to another,
    2. Obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage,

    is guilty of the offence of fraud.

  1. Any person’s obtaining of property belonging to another may be dishonest even if the person is willing to pay for the property.
  2. Any person may be convicted of the offence of fraud involve all or any part of a general deficiency in money or other property even through the deficiency is made up of any number of particular sums of money or items of other property that were obtained over a period of time.
  3. A conviction for the offence of fraud is an alternative verdict to a charge for the offence of larceny, or any offence that includes larceny, and a conviction for the offence of larceny, or any offence that includes larceny, is an alternative verdict to a charge for the offence of fraud.
  • Section 192F – Intention to defraud by destroying or concealing accounting records
  1. A person who dishonestly destroys or conceals any accounting record with the intention of:
    1. Obtaining property belonging to another, or
    2. Obtaining a financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage,

    is guilty of an offence.

  1. In this section, “destroy” includes obliterate.
  • Section 192G – Intention to defraud by false or misleading statement

A person who dishonestly makes or publishes, or concurs in the making or publishing, any statement (whether or not in writing) that is false or misleading in a material particular with the intention of:

  1. Obtaining property belonging to another, or
  2. Obtaining a financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage,

is guilty of an offence.

  • Section 192H – Intention to deceive members or creditors by false or misleading statement of office or organisation
  1. An officer of an organisation who, with the intention of deceiving members or creditors of the organisation about its affairs, dishonestly makes or publishes, or concurs in the making or publishing, a statement (whether or not in writing) that to his or her knowledge is or may be false or misleading in a material particular is guilty of an offence.
  2. In this section:
    “creditor” of an organisation, includes a person who has entered into a security for the benefit of an organisation.
    “officer” of an organisation includes any member of the organisation who is concerned in its management and any person purporting to act as an officer of the organisation.
    “organisation” means any body corporate of unincorporated association.

Evidently, there are numerous activities that are considered fraud. Typically, fraud is characterised as any intentional deception with the purpose of gaining something or causing a disadvantage for another person. As a leading criminal defence law firm based in Sydney, our expert team of criminal lawyers possess a wealth of knowledge in fraud related crimes.

If your facing fraud charges in NSW, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders now for a FREE first consultation to discuss tailored advice pertinent to your matter.

PENALTIES

As there are many crimes that are considered to be fraud, there a variety of penalties that could be imposed. Generally speaking, fraud related offences incur a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 5-10 years. The maximum penalties for fraud charges in NSW are outline below as per the Crimes Act 1900.

  • 192E Fraud – Imprisonment for 10 years if convicted in the District Court, 2 years imprisonment if convicted in the Local Court
  • 192F Intention to defraud by destroying or concealing accounting records – Imprisonment for 5 years
  • 192G Intention to defraud by false or misleading statement – Imprisonment for 5 years
  • 192H Intention to deceive members or creditors by false or misleading statement of officer of organisation – Imprisonment for 7 years

Although the Crimes Act stipulates that the maximum sentence are lengthy gaol terms, Crime Statistics Australia revealed that in 2015-2016 only 24% of offenders received a full time custodial sentence. The Court has the ability to enforce alternative punishments where appropriate, with Crimes Statistics Australia revealing that 31% of individuals receive non-custodial orders and 45% of individuals receive a monetary order. This means that punishments such as community corrections orders, intensive corrections orders, conditional release orders and fines could be imposed, if the Court feels it is sufficient. The overall sentence enforced is heavily reliant on numerous factors including the circumstances surrounding the crime, past criminal history and the character of the defendant.

For more accurate advice in relation to the penalties for fraud, should you be facing such a charge, do not hesitate to contact our Sydney fraud lawyers for a FREE first consultation.

GUILTY

In order to be found guilty of fraud, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you did commit the crime as per section 192E-192H of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). If you tend to agree with the fraud charges that are made against you, and the prosecution to prove this charge beyond reasonable doubt, you have the option to plead guilty. This will result in criminal conviction and can attract the penalties listed above.

However, it is also important to consider that a guilty plea is looked at favourably in the judicial system as it demonstrates remorse by the offender. As a result of this, the Court may impose less severe sentences depending on the circumstances. For the best advice, please contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers to schedule a FREE confidential consultation.

NOT GUILTY

If you decide to plead not guilty to charges of fraud, a brief of evidence will be served to your criminal defence lawyer. This brief contains all the evidence that the Police will use to try and convict you of fraudulent behaviour. Our Sydney based fraud lawyers will examine this evidence carefully and meticulously to advise you on what to expect in Court. Based on the findings, you have the option to adhere to the not guilty plea, or change your plea to guilty. Following this, a hearing date will be set for your defended hearing.

At the defended hearing, witnesses will be in Court to testify against you and explain their version of events Our criminal defence lawyers will then have the ability to cross examine them to demonstrate reliability. Other evidence will also be discussed before the Court by the prosecution, and further cross examined by our team. The reasoning for this is the prosecution needs to prove the crime was committed beyond a reasonable doubt. As many cases are not straightforward, the idea of beyond a reasonable doubt refers to an absence of uncertainty. Therefore, through strenuous cross examination and raising question to the validity and reliability of various evidence presented, doubt and uncertainty may be raised. Our fraud lawyers will also quash the claims with appropriate defences if necessary.

If the prosecution is able to successfully prove that you did commit an offence beyond a reasonable doubt, it is likely you will face the penalties listed above. However, if our defence lawyers are able to successfully raise an appropriate defence or raise doubt over the evidence provided, you will be found not guilty of the crime. However, it is important to note that some defences may only warrant a partial defence, whereby you may be liable to the punishment of larceny as described under section 192E, subsection 4 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Regardless of whether you plead guilty or not guilty, our Sydney and Parramatta based criminal defence lawyers at Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders will ensure that you case receives the preparation and consideration it requires to give you every chance of obtaining the best result possible.

THE DEFENCE

If you or someone you know is facing fraud charges, our expert criminal defence lawyers may argue the follow criminal defences:

Duress: Arises in situations where unlawful coercion has been used to persuade the accused to the criminal activity and would not usually be something they would do if the threats had not been present.

Necessity: Although sometimes difficult to prove, the defence of necessity can be argued in situations where it is found that the accused was in imminent danger by either human or natural forces. Our criminal defence lawyers will need to establish that activity was only undertaken in order to avoid consequences that were deemed as “irreparable evil”. It must also be proven that the accused was in “imminent peril” and that they had no other alternatives to avoid the impending threat.

WHICH COURT?

Fraud as per section 192E of the Crimes Act is classified as table 1 offence, in which the matter will be heard at either the Local or District Court.

Although our fraud lawyers are based in Sydney and Parramatta, our team has 29 years of have extensive experience in defending criminal cases all over NSW. Regardless if your matter is heard in the Local, District and Supreme Courts, your can be confident our team possesses the knowledge, dedication and commitment to achieve the best outcome possible for your case.