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Fraud : Definitions and Types

This brief article examines fraud, the definition and different types of fraud.

Definition of Fraud

The crime of fraud is set out in section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900, and states that is the action of deceptively or dishonestly behaviour to obtain some form of property or financial advantage or to cause a financial disadvantage to another person.

The payment of money to the other person does not stop the possibility of a charge of fraud.  The court will generally consider whether there are deceptive or dishonest actions involved in the act.  What is regarded as a deceptive act is broad, being any deception through words or any other conduct.  Dishonesty is held to the standard known by the defendant to be dishonest to the ordinary person.

Types of Fraud

There is a wide variety of fraud offences and with the increasing integration of technology the ways which fraud can be committed continue to expand.

Intention to Defraud by Concealing or Destroying Accounting Records

This is when an accounting record or records are concealed or destroyed with the intent to obtain property belonging to another or to obtain a financial advantage or to cause a financial disadvantage. The charge may be effectively defended if it can be shown there was no awareness of the nature of the document or that there was no intention to obtain property or to gain a financial advantage or to cause a financial loss, this can may presented to the court as a defence.

Intention to Defraud by False or Misleading Statements

This is when a false a false or misleading statement is made with the intention of obtaining a financial advantage or to cause a financial disadvantage.  The charge may be effectively defended if the statement was made with genuine and honest belief that it was not false or misleading and that this belief is considered reasonable.

Intention to Deceive by using False or Misleading Statements

This is when an officer or manager of a corporation makes false or misleading statements with the intention of deceiving members or creditors.  The charge may be effectively defended if there was no intention to deceive the member or creditors of the organisation or that the statement could not influence members’ or creditors to act upon it.

Money Laundering

This is the dealing of money or property which are the proceeds of crime.  Different levels of knowledge that the money or property were the proceeds of crime. This ranges from full knowledge, recklessness and negligence.

Embezzlement

Embezzlement is the taking of money or property by an employee from their employer without that employer’s consent.  This can have a maximum penalty of 10 years when it is heard in the District Court.

Larceny by Clerk or Servant

This is when an employee takes money and or property from the employer with the intent to permanently deprive their employer of that money and or property.  The intent to keep the money and or property must have been formed at the time the money and or property was taken for the employee to be found guilty.

Forgery

Forgery is the making of a false document with the intention of having it accepted as genuine so that it influences an individual or causes financial advantage or disadvantage.

Centrelink Fraud

Centrelink fraud can occur in multiple ways, with or without deception or through making a general false claim. It requires a financial gain, through actions which were either deceptive or dishonest. Repayment of the money will not guarantee that you will not be charged, but may be a strong factor in the reduction of any penalty.

Goods in Custody

A goods in custody offence requires that money and or property was;

  • in your custody; or placed in someone else’s custody; or placed on a premises;
  • that you were not entitle to possess that money and or property;
  • and there is reasonable suspicion that the money and or property was stolen or illegally gained.

The test for reasonable suspicion from R v Rondo [2001] NSWCCA 540 is set at less than a reasonable belief but must be more than a possibility. It is not able to be arbitrary and must contain some factual basis.

The criminal lawyers at Brander Smith McKnight are highly experienced in all types of fraud matters and are able to provide you with expert legal advice.

Call us to arrange a free 20 minute no obligation consultation that includes case evaluation and cost estimate.

 

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