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Section 408C of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899, defines all actions relating to Fraud. It also prohibits all activities, including related offences and any attempts or intentions to commit such acts.
Under the section, a fraud offence occurs where;
If you are convicted for a fraud offence in the state of Queensland, it will show up on a criminal record check in QLD.
The offence is disclosed in accordance with QLD’s spent convictions legislation.
Fraud offences are handled in a District Court as an indictable offence. The District Court judge or jury will impose up to the maximum penalties on a guilty person.
However, some cases of Fraud are considered trivial or lesser offences and are handled in a Magistrate Court. Fraud offences are treated summarily when a Magistrate hears the case.
When imposing penalties for a fraud offence, the court will consider the circumstances around the conviction, including the presence of aggravating factors. Generally, a Fraud offence incurs penalties between (5 and 10 years imprisonment term).
However, the court may impose higher penalties depending on the presence of other peculiar factors.
A senior officer, director of a corporation, or business owner can also be found guilty of fraud offences against their corporations. Also, some fraud offences against employees may be considered corporate fraud offences.
A corporate offence occurs if the offender claims/illegally uses/takes a property meant for a different/specified purpose. This property can also be other properties of the company/organization that they had access to by their position/role in the company.
If the court finds you guilty of corporate fraud offences, it will impose up to the prescribed maximum penalties depending on the circumstances.
The court will impose up to a 14-year imprisonment term if the;
The court can also impose penalties for a fraud offence depending on what the offender appropriated. Some Jury or Judge will consider the crime a severe one if the offender obtained properties above $100 000 dishonestly. Some judges believe it to be an indication of the "hardened" nature of the offender.
Property, proceed, or item obtained from t\he act of Dishonesty (fraud) is valued between $30,000 and $100,000, the Act prescribes penalties up to 14-years imprisonment.
If the property's Value, or proceeds, exceeds $100,000, the Act stipulates penalties of up to 20 years imprisonment.
Furthermore, the court may also impose this maximum offence if the offender re-commits such crimes (repeat offender).
The court will not find you guilty of a fraud offence under any of these circumstances;
The person who obtains/uses a property (not theirs) does not know to whom the property belongs. And the person believed that it would be almost impossible to discover the owner through any practical means.
However, this does not stand if the property came to their control as a trustee or personal representative.
Section 408D of the Act prohibits all illegal and dishonest actions involving an identification document. A person will be guilty of any violations of this regard, including;
For all fraud offences involving the use or dealing with an ID, the court imposes a maximum sentence of 5 years imprisonment term.
Possessing any of the equipment used to commit, assist or facilitate the crime carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
When hearing matters of such fraud offences, it is irrelevant to the court if the impersonated person;
While issuing the sentencing, the court may order the impersonated person/entity to provide;
Anyone can prosecute the matter of an identity document fraud, including;
It is an offence under the Act (s 408E) to use, handle or perform other operations with a restricted computer without the controller’s consent.
It is mainly handled as a summary offence before the magistrate court and carries a penalty of up to 2 years imprisonment. However, it may be treated as an indictable offence before a District Court on serious indictments or crimes.
Related offences of Fraud with a computer
Depending on the intent or the offence, the court may issue severer punishments for fraud offences with a computer. Some of them include;
If the court finds that the accused "tampered" with the digital machine to cause a considerable detriment to the community or organization, it can impose penalties up to a 5-years imprisonment term.
Also, if the offender intended to appropriate some gains, the court can sentence them up to 5 years imprisonment.
Causing severe detriments with computer fraud
If the damage or detriment a person causes is over $5000, or the intention to commit a serious offence, the offender can get up to a 10-years imprisonment term.
A defence for this purpose can be;
There was an authorisation or permission to sue the restricted device, especially if it is subject to the Law. The offender must prove that they had specific justifiable reasons to use the property.
For this matter, a restricted computer includes;
What are the essential terms in deciding a fraud offence?
When considering whether a charge qualifies as being treated as a fraud offence, the court will consider some of the following factors;
For fraud offences, a property includes; credits, possessions, services, benefits of a gain or anything that gives the right to incur a debt or release obligations. It can be money, land properties, moveable goods and other items the Act defines as "capable of being stolen”.
A person is still guilty of a fraud offence under the Act even if they;
The Law defines a property owner as a person/group or joint owner of that property. It also includes person(s) who have legal and equitable rights, interest or claim over a property, or,
Any person who was immediately before the offender's control had legal rights to the property.
To obtain, claim or appropriate a property means to gain, get, receive or acquire a property in any way.
Also, if the accused person induces a person or any of the owner or legal authority on a property to pass such property, it does not matter that;
Dealing with a property or an ID means being passively or actively involved in the; supply, use, possession, or maintenance of such an item.
It consists of all personal and legal information of an entity. Illegally obtained IDs are used to commit, facilitate, induce or assist fraudulent offences with the holder's data.
When you accuse a person in court for fraud offences, there are certain things the prosecutor must prove. Some of the things the prosecutor must prove (usually with evidence) before a judge are;
The prosecution must also follow earlier proof with arguments that the accused (defendant) did any of the following;
From a reference to an earlier case; The Judge stipulated that the person must have acted in a way that was dishonest by ordinary standards. The person must also be aware that their actions were fraudulent by any of these common standards.
Also, the case of R v Glenister  2 NSWLR 597 held that fraudulent activity could mean dishonest actions.
Under the Penalties and Sentencing Act of 1992 (s161Q), various factors or circumstances can lead to a fraud offence being “aggravated”. If the court finds the circumstances of aggravation for a crime, it may impose penalties more severe than the basic.
Aggravated circumstances for a Fraud offence include;
If you are charged with a fraud offence or any other stealing offence in QLD, it is best to contact the services of an experienced lawyer. Some of the benefits of getting a lawyer includes;
Depending on how convincing or compelling your argument is, the Judge may grant you lesser sentencing or even acquit you of the charge.
The possible defences for a Fraud offence include;
Where an individual is convicted in a QLD court for the offence of fraud, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on their nationally coordinated criminal history check certificate.
Individuals can obtain a criminal background check online via the Australian National Character Check (ANCC®) website.
Section 408 of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/pdf/inforce/current/act-1899-009
Section 161Q of the Penalties and Sentencing Act 1992 - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1992-048#sec.161Q
R v Glenister  2 NSWLR 597 - https://nswlr.com.au/view/1980-2-NSWLR-597
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