The Lowdown on Fraud and Deception Offences

Technology has made astronomical leaps. With many people opting for buying, doing business, and even dating online, committing fraud has become easier.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics states that 11 percent of Australians had to deal with fraud between 2020 and 2021. This amounts to higher than two million people, and in 2014-15 this percentage stood at 8.5%.

Fraud in Victoria involves different offences, including deception (such as deceptively getting property or a financial benefit) and falsifying documents or accounting records.

If you are the victim of fraud or have been charged with fraud or any related deception offences, speak to one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers for legal assistance.

Acquiring Property by Deception

Section 81 of the Crimes Act 1958 (the Act) states that it is an offence for you to act deceptively and dishonestly to get or take another’s property. For this crime to be proven, there must be an intention to take away the valid owner’s property for good.

The maximum punishment for this crime is ten years imprisonment.

Property has a broad meaning as per Section 82 of the Act.

It involves the following:

  • Real property-Land or anything permanently fixed to it
  • Personal property-Goods
  • Money
  • Intangible property- Copyright and rights in inventions of the mind, shares, etc.

The property that is taken must belong to another person. Property belongs to another person if that person has or is in control of it or has a right or interest in it, and this is different from property that has been abandoned.

Acquiring Financial Benefit by Deception

Section 82 of the Act deals with this offence. This occurs when someone untruthfully gets a financial benefit for themselves or someone else.

The maximum punishment for this offence is ten years of jail time.

Financial advantage has a broad meaning. It means something that makes your finances better.

What Does Deception Entail

Deception, as it relates to fraud, is defined in Section 81 (4) of the Act. It involves words or acts about facts or the law that are untruthful.

The law states that it is deception when you alter a machine or computer so that it acts in a way that you do not have the authority to make it act. For instance, using someone else’s card and password to take out cash from an ATM without their permission is deceptive.

Deception must be either:

  • Intentional; or
  • Reckless: This means that you say or do something while knowing there is a high chance that it might be deceptive and continuing nonetheless.

Deception must have caused you to get the property.

Dishonesty

Dishonesty, as it relates to fraud, means you get the property without believing you have a right to it.

Contact A Criminal Defence Lawyer Today

Access to information has made it easy to get involved in fraudulent activities. Maybe you saw an opportunity to make a quick buck and knowingly or unknowingly committed fraud. On the other hand, you might be a victim of fraud yourself. Wherever you stand, you will benefit from speaking to a criminal defence lawyer who is an expert in this area.

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