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Some offences involve various forms of deception, and one of them is the fraud offences in Australia. Fraud is committed in numerous ways and spans the range of Commonwealth benefit programs and assistance available to the Australian community, including the Australian taxation system. Because of this, fraud prosecutions are diverse and fundamental to protecting Commonwealth resources, so they benefit all Australians.
Part 7.3, Division 134 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Commonwealth) defines what fraud offences are under Australian Commonwealth law and prescribes the maximum penalties for offenders. Due to the broad scope of fraud offences in Australia, the Code lists the many circumstances.
The Commonwealth Code defines a Fraud offence to be committed in any of these cases;
The Court will find a person guilty of fraud offences under the law if the accused person;
An accused person is guilty under the law of fraud offences if;
For this, a borrower/lender can treat the property like theirs to dispose of regardless of the other's rights. However, this is only possible if the borrowing or lending was for a period and the circumstances made it equivalent to an outright taking or disposal.
A person who has caused another person to transfer an amount to a third person dishonestly is guilty of fraud offences. The amount they dishonestly took is regarded as the property of the second person (victim).
The first person ruled to obtain the property for the third person to permanently deprive the second person of the property.
An accused person will be found guilty of this offence if they have taken part or wholly in a general deficiency. It does not matter that the shortage;
If an accused person is charged for a fraud offence, but the Court is not satisfied that they are guilty of fraud but theft, the accused will be convicted of the theft offence.
In the same way, if a person was charged for theft offences, but the Court is dissatisfied that they are guilty of the theft offences, but of fraud, the Court will convict them of fraud offences.
The Court will find you guilty under Section 135.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth) if ;
The Criminal Code (Commonwealth) stipulates maximum penalties of 10 years for such offences.
Fraud is treated as either an indictable or summary offence depending on the Court where it is handled. Lesser crimes of fraud are dealt with summarily in a Magistrate court, while serious fraud offences are usually held in a District or Supreme court where they are finalized.
How a fraud case is handled may also vary depending on the jurisdiction where the offence occurred.
The individual states have varying legislations for fraud offences committed in their jurisdiction. However, for a federal or commonwealth fraud offence dealt as an indictable offence, the Criminal Code (Commonwealth) stipulates maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment.
The Court can convict a person of fraudulent offences if they are satisfied the person;
Such offence attracts a maximum penalty of a 5-year imprisonment term. The prosecution doesn't need to prove that the other person knew that the person was a Commonwealth entity for such an offence.
The Court can convict a person if they are satisfied that they;
The person will also be guilty of fraudulent offences against a commonwealth public official if they;
do anything to dishonestly influence a public official in the exercise of the official's duties as a public official;
The Criminal Code (Commonwealth) stipulates maximum penalties of 5 years for such offences.
Under Section 135.2;
A person is guilty of the offence if they obtain a financial advantage for themselves or another from a Commonwealth entity, knowing or believing that they are not eligible for the economic benefit.
It also includes all cases where the accused person induces the commonwealth entity to do anything that results in the financial advantage.
The Criminal Code (Commonwealth) stipulates a 12-month penalty term for such offences.
A person is guilty of this offence (fraud) if they;
The prosecution doesn’t have to prove that they knew that the person defrauded was a Commonwealth entity.
The Criminal Code (Commonwealth) stipulates maximum penalties of up to 10 years for such offences.
The Court will only be satisfied that the person is guilty of such offences if the prosecution can prove that;
The accused person/party are still guilty even if;
A person cannot be found guilty of the fraud offence if:
a finding of guilt would be inconsistent with their acquittal.
While the definition and acts that constitute fraud in the manifold are no different from the Commonwealth laws, the penalties imposed can vary. It is prohibited in their legislation on Crimes and related offences.
All offences relating to fraud are dealt with under Part 3.3 of the Criminal Code 2002. And runs across Sections 326 to 334 under the law dealing with issues of;
The maximum individual penalty for obtaining property by deception is ten years imprisonment and a fine of $150,000. It also prescribes the same punishment for the offence of conspiracy to defraud.
Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) stipulates it a grave offence if a person;
Dishonestly appropriates a property belonging to another or obtain any financial advantage, or,
Cause a financial disadvantage to another, done by any form of deception.
For proof, the prosecution must prove that:
If the prosecution cannot prove these elements beyond doubt, the defendant is entitled to an acquittal.
The Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) stipulates the maximum penalty for the offence as;
Section 409 of the Criminal Code Act in WA defines and prohibits fraudulent offences in Western Australia. It includes all the crimes punishable under Commonwealth laws.
Fraudulent activities and crimes in WA attracts penalties of;
As a summary offence
The maximum penalty when fraud is dealt with summarily is;
If the victim is over the age of 60, then the maximum penalty increases to imprisonment for;
Being Guilty of fraud in WA includes;
In WA, offences of fraud apply only in situations that have a ‘commercial flavour’; it includes;
When the accused's intention to deceive is concerning a victim's economic interests or public duties.
However, it is not fraud if;
The action or inducement to actions/inactions does not amount to fraud where that action affects only non-economic interests, for example, social relationships.
Defences for fraud under WA laws;
The legal counsel for the accused can argue that their client;
Section 408C of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD) states that fraud offences are treated as severe and indictable violations. In Queensland, an offender can be liable to a 12-years imprisonment term
Fraud simpliciter, or "fraud", is when a person commits one or more of the various conduct listed above without a circumstance of aggravation. It incurs a maximum penalty of 5 years
In Court, the prosecution must prove;
Fraud matters are handled in a District Court in Queensland.
Matters relating to fraud in Tasmania are governed by the 253A of the Criminal Code Act 1924 (Tasmania). Fraud offences are grave in Tasmania and attract penalties up to 21 years imprisonment.
However, if the person is convicted summarily, the penalties imposed are;
The Northern Territory maintains a definition of fraud-related activities similar to those of the Commonwealth. Section 227 of the Criminal Code Act 1983 prescribes the punishments, types, circumstances and requirements for these offences.
The punishment for fraud in the NT is seven years’ imprisonment.
The Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) governs all criminal offences, including those involving deception. Section 139 of the Act defines, stipulates and prohibits fraud through deception and cases of public dishonesty.
Under the act, the Court can impose penalties up to 15 years, especially in circumstances of aggravation. However, it also depends if the matter is handled as an indictable or summary offence.
Other offences of fraud are;
The Crimes Act 1958 (VIC) covers all illegal behaviours in Victoria. Section 81 of the Act defines and prescribes punishments for all offenders.
The act classifies all acts of deception, dishonesty, and illicit financial advantage against public or civil citizens as fraud offences.
The Crime of Fraud and obtaining by deception carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. The legislation makes such an offence a Level 5 offence.
Where there is a conviction in an Australian Court, fraud offences are displayed on a national police check in accordance with the rules of the spent convictions scheme.
You can obtain your criminal record check online via the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) website.
Criminal Code Act 1995 (Commonwealth) - https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2021C00183
Criminal Code 2002 (ACT) - https://www.legislation.act.gov.au/a/2002-51/
Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) - https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1900-040
Criminal Code Act 1899 (QLD) - https://www.legislation.qld.gov.au/view/html/inforce/current/act-1899-009
Criminal Code Act Compilation Act 1913 (WA) - https://www.legislation.wa.gov.au/legislation/statutes.nsf/main_mrtitle_218_homepage.html
Criminal Code Act 1983 (NT) - https://legislation.nt.gov.au/en/Legislation/CRIMINAL-CODE-ACT-1983
Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) - https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/LZ/C/A/CRIMINAL%20LAW%20CONSOLIDATION%20ACT%201935.aspx
Crimes Act 1958 (VIC) - https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/in-force/acts/crimes-act-1958/294
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