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UNDERSTANDING FRAUD

Updated: May 2


Fraud refers to intentionally deceptive acts committed for personal and beneficial gain. Fraud is a serious offence in Australia.


The offence of fraud is outlined in the Criminal Code 1899 SECT 408C, as it states: (1) A person who dishonestly—

(a) applies to his or her own use or to the use of any person—

(i) property belonging to another; or

(ii) property belonging to the person, or which is in the person’s possession, either solely or jointly with another person, subject to a trust, direction or condition or on account of any other person; or

(b) obtains property from any person; or

(c) induces any person to deliver property to any person; or

(d) gains a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for any person; or

(e) causes a detriment, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person; or

(f) induces any person to do any act which the person is lawfully entitled to abstain from doing; or

(g) induces any person to abstain from doing any act which that person is lawfully entitled to do; or

(h) makes off, knowing that payment on the spot is required or expected for any property lawfully supplied or returned or for any service lawfully provided, without having paid and with intent to avoid payment;

commits the crime of fraud.


As above, any reference to ‘property’ includes property itself, yes – but also money, any credit, service, benefit or advantage, anything evidencing a right to incur a debt or to recover or receive a benefit, and releases of obligations. (Criminal Code 1899)


Penalties for fraud


The maximum penalty for typical act of fraud is 5 years imprisonment.


In some cases, this extends to a maximum of 14 years imprisonment if: • the offender is the CEO of a corporation, and the victim is the corporation itself; or • the offender is an employee of the victim; or • the offender is or was an employer of the victim; or • the property obtained fraudulently, deceptively or dishonestly was subject to trust, conditions or purposes; or • the amount of property obtained fraudulently, deceptively or dishonestly is more than $30,000 but less than $100,000.


Further, there is a chance for 20 years’ imprisonment if: • the value of property obtained fraudulently, deceptively or dishonestly is of at least $100,000; or • the offender continues to commit the offence.

In small cases, (where the fraud is small and not directly associated with high levels of dishonesty) the penalties are lesser. Minor cases of fraud for first time offenders can lead to community service orders or fines.


Criminal Lawyers for Fraud Offences


­­­Do you need legal representation? If you’d like to speak to us about our crime and misconduct support, please contact us on 07 3009 655 or email us at creeveyrussell@crlawyers.com.au. We also operate a 24/7 crime hotline to assist you when you need it most. Our 24/7 crime hotline is 1800 2746 3529.


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