Criminal Offences

Obtaining a Financial Advantage

Obtaining a financial advantage is considered as a serious offence in NSW and Australia. Considered as a fraudulent activity, obtaining a financial advantage is found under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and can also be found in division 134.2 in the Criminal Code Act 1995 which constitutes federal legislation.

In fact, section 192 of the Crimes Act 1900 states that a person who, by any deception, dishonestly obtains property belonging to another, or obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage is guilty of the offence of fraud.

Meanwhile, division 134.2 of the Criminal Code 1995 states that:

  1. A person commits an offence if:
    1. The person, by a deception, dishonestly obtains a financial advantage from another person; and
    2. The other person is a Commonwealth entity.

In order to best understand this offence, it is vital to identify how Australian law defines deception and dishonesty. 192B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states that:

  1. Deception means any deception, by words or other conduct, as to fact or as to law, including:
    1. A deception as to the intentions of the person using the deception or any other person, or
    2. Conduct by a person that causes a computer, a machine or any electronic device to make a response that the person is not authorised to cause it to make.
  2. A person does not commit an offence under this Part by a deception unless the deception was intentional or reckless.

Evidently, deception places great emphasis on intention or recklessness. Intent can often be difficult to prove with facts, as it refers to the deliberate actions to cause harm. Despite this, recklessness in terms of the law refers to situations whereby the accused knows or should know that their actions are likely to cause harm. Either of these actions are involved in deceptive and fraudulent behaviour.

Alternatively, section 4B of the Criminal Code 1995 states that:

  1. In this Act:
    “dishonest” means dishonest according to the standards of ordinary people and known by the defendant to be dishonest according to the standards of ordinary people.
  1. In a prosecution for an offence, dishonesty is a matter for the trier of fact.

If the above points can be established, it is likely that a charges in relation to fraud will follow. If you or someone you know has been charged with the offence of obtaining a financial advantage, it is advised to seek legal representation immediately. At Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders, we are a Sydney based criminal law firm with 29 years of experience in criminal law.

Contact our team now for a FREE first consultation.

PENALTIES

As seen in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and the Criminal Code 1995, obtaining a financial advantage can be characterised a both a state and federal offence. Both of these offences attract the same maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years if found guilty.

However, the Court also has the ability to enforce other penalties that are deemed appropriate. This is decided on a case by case basis and considers numerous factors include the defendants personal character and circumstances, the nature of the crime and past criminal history. Depending on these factors and with the help of experienced criminal defence lawyers, the Court may enforce punishments such as home detention, community corrections orders, intensive corrections orders, or or conditional release orders. The matter could even potentially be dealt with by the means of a section 10 dismissal in appropriate situations.

Criminal convictions can greatly impact an individual’s liberty and lifestyle. If you, or someone you is facing charges of obtaining a financial advantage, contact our expert criminal defence lawyers for more accurate advice on the penalties that are pertinent to your specific matter. Schedule your FREE first consultation now!

GUILTY

To be found guilty of obtaining a financial advantage, the prosecution has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have:

  • Deceived another person or Commonwealth entity; and
  • This deception caused a financial advantage; or
  • The deception caused a financial disadvantage

The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) also states that to be guilty of deception, intent or recklessness needs to be proven.

If the prosecution is able to successfully prove these elements, you could potentially be facing the maximum penalty of 10 years in gaol. If you agree with these allegation, you have the option to plead guilty, which could be more favourable than being found guilty otherwise. Pleading guilty often demonstrates remorse and regret for your actions in the eyes of the Court and therefore it is not uncommon to see the judiciary system award less significant punishments.

To determine whether an alternative or less serious penalty is sufficient, the Court will deliberate on the nature of the charge, past criminal history, personal character and individual circumstances. If these factors are not serious, the Court may use their discretion deal with the matter by means section 10 dismissal, in which no criminal conviction will be recorded. The Court could also enforce penalties such as community corrections orders, intensive correction orders or conditional release orders if it is determined that these punishments are sufficient and fair for the particular offence.

For the most accurate and honest advice pertinent to your specific case, please contact our dedicated criminal defence lawyers to schedule a conditional and FREE first consultation.

NOT GUILTY

If you choose to plead not guilty in relation to obtaining a financial advantage, it will be up to the prosecution to prove that you did commit the offence as per 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 or 134.2 of the Criminal Code 1995. If the prosecution is unsuccessful in their attempt, you will be found not guilty.

However, if the prosecution has a strong case against you, there is the potential to be found guilty of the crime, in which you will facing a maximum penalty of imprisonment for 10 years. For your best chance to avoid such penalties, it is advised to seek legal representation from expert criminal defence lawyers. Our Sydney based fraud lawyers will then disprove the claims against you by using a relevant defence strategy. If we are successful, the Court may completely dismiss the charges in which you will no longer be facing the penalties stipulated by the Crimes Act 1900. In other instances, our defence strategies may result in a less serious sentence or a downgraded charge that has less severe penalties as opposed to the maximum sentence.

Regardless, as an award winning criminal law firm, we are proud to be some of Sydney’s best criminal defence lawyers. Our lawyers are dedicated to achieving the best possible outcome for the cases we represent.

If you are facing charges relating to fraud or obtaining a financial advantage, contact Benjamin Leonardo – The Defenders for a FREE consultation.

THE DEFENCE

If you or someone you know is facing fraud charges in relation to obtaining a financial advantage, our expert criminal defence lawyers will aim to negate the allegations by using a relevant defence. These defences may include:

Duress: Occurs when the defendant has been coerced to participate in illegal activities as a result of harmful threats. Examples of threats that may persuade the defendant include acts of bodily harm or death.

Necessity: Unlawful activities may be justified by the means of necessity if it can be proven that an emergency situation, in which the defendant was in imminent danger from natural or human threats resulted in the activity. Although necessity can sometimes difficult to prove, 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 there were no other reasonable alternatives to avoid such a threat.

WHICH COURT?

Both the federal and state offence of obtaining a financial advantage may be heard before a Local Court unless elected otherwise. If an election has been made by either yourself or the prosecution, the matter will be heard in the District Court before a Jury.

Should you be facing fraud charges, and wish to seek more information in relation to Court proceedings for the federal or state crime of obtaining a financial advantage, please do not hesitate to contact our Sydney based Fraud lawyers to schedule a FREE first consultation.