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  • Fraud Offences and Penalties in Tasmania (TAS)

    Tasmanian laws now provide a particular offence of fraud or related offences after 2013. Section 253A of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (TAS) defines and prescribes punishment for fraud and related offences. Tasmania courts treat them as serious offences imposing stiffer penalties.

    A Fraud Offence in Tasmania is a severe fraud-related dishonesty offence.

    If you are convicted for a Fraud offence in Tasmania, the offence will show up on a national police record check in Tasmania. The conviction will be disclosed on the check in accordance with Tasmania’s spent convictions scheme.

    What is Fraud Offence?

    You are guilty of Fraud under the Law if the Court concludes that there is sufficient evidence you committed any of these;

    • Illegally obtained property from a person, or,
    • Induces or cause the person to deliver or transfer property to another person
    • Illegally gain a benefit (financial and co) to any person,
    • Cause a person to perform an act that they are lawfully advised to abstain from doing,
    • Inducing a person to refrain from doing an action they are legally entitled to do.

    If the Court finds you to have committed these acts, they will convict you of the offence of Fraud.

    Which Court handles matters relating to Fraud in Tasmania?

    Fraud offences in Tasmania are grave offences as mentioned earlier. The District hears all such matters as an indictable offence and imposes the maximum penalties prescribed in the Tasmanian Criminal Code.

    However, some rare cases of fraudulent acts that are less severe may proceed before a Magistrate. Where this happens, it will be prosecuted under the Police Offences Act 1935 (TAS).

    There are also specific fraud offences that can be treated as summary offences in the Law. These include offences defined in the Police Offences Act 1935 as;

    • Obtaining the hire or use of a car by Fraud (s 37C)
    • Making off without payment (s 38A), and
    • Computer-related Fraud (s 43A).

    Whether the matter appears before a Magistrate depends on;

    • The choice of the Police or prosecutor and,
    • The severity of the offence.

    What penalties does the Law impose on a Fraud offence?

    The penalties for fraud offences in Tasmania is one of the most severe kinds of punishments for Fraud offences in Australia. If the District or a higher court finds you guilty of Fraud, they can impose as much as 21 years of imprisonment on the offender.

    However, most courts usually impose lesser penalties in practice. And they are appropriate/vary with the fraudulent offences.

    Fraud matters that pass as a summary offence before a Magistrate only incur punishments as severe as a two years imprisonment term.

    What are the types of Fraud offences?

    Having defined the case of general Fraud in section 253A of the Criminal Code Act, many activities qualify as fraud offences in Tasmania.


    Fraud on sale or mortgage of a property

    A person is guilty of fraud offence if, as a seller or mortgagor of a property, they commit any of these dishonest activities;

    • Conceals any instruments or material to the title from the purchaser or the person getting the mortgage, and
    • Falsifies or alters any of the pedigree that relates to the title of the property.

    A person guilty of such an act will be convicted of Fraud on the disposition of the property.


    Fraud relating to land

    A person is guilty of fraud offences if they deal or handle the possession or sale of land dishonestly. Some of the acts that constitute this offence includes;

    • Issuing a false statement or,
    • Using fraudulent means to obtain or dispose of any land.

    Offences of Fraud relating to land are governed under the Land Titles Act 1980 (TAS).


    Fraud offences of salting mines

    A person is guilty of a fraud offence relating to mines and minerals if they deal dishonestly. Such actions include;

    • Deceiving another person as to the quality of the material from the mine,
    • Replacing the mineral with another to deceive a person,
    • Intend to deceive a person as to actual or abstract minerals.

    The Judge can convict them of a fraud offence of salting a mine.


    Hiding mining discoveries

    Section 257 prohibits all illegal acts where mining is involved. Specifically, the Court can convict you of this charge if with the intent to defraud a partner, joint worker, and co, you;

    • Conceal a discovery of a mineral or other interesting specimen,
    • Deceived or attempted to deceive them as to the value of such material.

    The Court can find such a person guilty of a fraud offence and issue penalties.

    Computer-related Fraud offences in Tasmania

    These fraud offences relate to all dishonest dealings involving a computer, programmed machine, or other algorithms.

    Section 257B defines a computer fraud happens when;

    A person with the intent of defrauding another person or the state commits any of these actions;

    1. Alters, erases, defaces, damages or manipulates the data stored or used in connection with a computer,
    2. Installs a program or other material into the computer to;
      1. Damage, erase or affect other data stored in the computer or system, or;
      2. Interfere, interrupts or obstruct the working of the computer or any other lawful use.
    3. Use a designated computer/system to commit any of such acts.

    Any of these cations with a computer will make the offender liable to up to the maximum penalty for Fraud.

    Damaging a Computer’s Data

    This offence covers all actions that include when the person intentionally, and without lawful excuse;

    • Destroys, damages, alters data stored in the computer, or;
    • Interferes or obstructs in any way with the lawful use of working of a computer

    If the Court finds a person guilty of such offences, they will convict the person of damaging computer data.


    Unauthorised access to a computer

    A person will be liable to the punishments for a fraud offence if the Court finds them guilty of unauthorized access to a computer.

    The action that constitutes such offence includes when a person intentionally gains access to a computer or system without lawful excuse.


    Using false information as data on a computer

    A person is guilty of a fraud offence if dishonesty introduces or records false and misleading data into the computer.

    Receiving Stolen property or taking rewards for stolen property

    A person is guilty of Fraud if they, with full knowledge, receive or keep a stolen property without lawful excuse.

    Stolen properties, in this case, include all properties;

    • Obtained dishonestly, or

    Through acts that constitute indictable offences;

    • In Tasmania, or
    • By Tasmania laws (if the crime was outside Tasmania).

    Chapter XXIX and section 258 of the Criminal Code Act governs charges for receiving stolen properties.

    Taking rewards for stolen properties

    A person who dishonestly claims to have found a property and claims such reward when they stole it is guilty of Fraud under section 259 of the Act. It also includes fraudulently pretending to help recover stolen property when they stole it.

    However, the Court may absolve them if the offender showed due diligence in bringing the original offender to trial.

    Fraudulent dealing by Trustees

    A person can be guilty of Fraud as a trustee, company officer, director, or other property agent.

    Chapter XXX section 260 of the Criminal Code defines a fraud offence occurs if;

    • A trustee intends to defraud, destroy or convert any part of a property to use not part of their trust.

    A trustee for this context includes;

    • Person bestowed with temporal legal right deeds, wills for a public or private matter/property,
    • Persons appointed to oversee or perform any of these duties,
    • Executors or administrators.

    Fraud offences of corporations, companies and legal documents

    A company director or other similar administrator is guilty of a fraud offence if they possess or receive any company property with intent to defraud. It also includes the actions of omitting or manipulating the entries or records for such property.

    The Company director or administrator is also guilty of a fraud offence if they;

    • Destroy, alter, mutilate or falsify any document, books or security or account for such act
    • Omits or privy to omit material from such books or documents.

    The person will be found guilty of a Crime under section 261 of the Act.


    False statements by influencers or other company administrators

    A person who has interests in a company including;

    • Directors, officers, or,
    • Engaged or interested in the formation or registration of any persons;
    • Makes circulates supports,
    • Publishes a misleading or,
    • False statements to induce or defraud a creditor, member or any other persons.

    The Court can issue a conviction of Fraud offences with a Fraudulent notice.


    Fraudulent False accounting

    A person being a clerk or servant or being employed so is guilty of a fraud offence if they;

    Destroy, alter or falsify any valuable security or document which belongs to the employer or company,

    • Removes or alters any material that will be useful for such records
    • Such a person is guilty of an offence of Fraud as a clerk or servant.

    Fraud in respect to payments

    A person who unlawfully, and without claim of right conceals, takes a thing or withholds payment of a person without lawful excuse is guilty of a fraud offence.

    Evidence relating to the intention to defraud

    Under section 255A of the Criminal Code Act, a person is guilty of the crime if sufficient evidence shows that the person intended to defraud.

    When prosecuting fraud offences, it may not be necessary to prove that there was an intent to commit Fraud by the offender.

    It may not also be necessary to prove that the person received keeps or hides the money or property for offences of receiving stolen goods.

    Do Fraud Offences in Tasmania show up on a national criminal history check?

    If you are convicted in a Tasmanian court for the offence of fraud, the offence will show up as a disclosable court outcome (DCO) on your police criminal background check certificate. The offence is disclosed in accordance with Australia’s spent convictions scheme.

    You can obtain a police check online via the Australian National Character Check (ANCC®) website.

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