What are Fraud Offences?3 December 2021 in Criminal Law
How do we define “fraud”?
Fraud, as set out in section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900, is acting deceptively or dishonestly to obtain some form of property or financial advantage or to cause a financial disadvantage to another person.
Paying money to the other person does not stop the possibility of being charged with fraud, the deceptive or dishonest actions involved is generally what the court will primarily consider.
What is regarding 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.
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.
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 lose, this may function 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 intent to obtain a financial advantage or to cause a financial disadvantage.
If the statement was made with genuine and honest belief that it not false or misleading and that belief was reasonable, this may function as a defence.
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 intent to deceive members or creditors.
If there was no intent to deceive the member or creditors of the organisation or that the statement could not affect members’ or creditors to act upon it, this may be a defence.
Is the dealing of money or property which is the proceeds of crime.
Different levels of knowledge are able to be alleged, ranging from full knowledge, recklessness and negligence that the money or property were proceeds of crime.
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, clerk or servant to the owner takes money and/or property 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 to be sufficient to be found guilty.
Forgery is the making of a false document with the intent to have it accepted as genuine and influencing an individual or causing financial advantage or disadvantage.
Centrelink fraud can occur multiple ways, with or without deception or through making a general false claim. These require 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  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.
Can I receive a criminal conviction for fraud?
You are likely to receive a criminal conviction for fraud if found guilty. This can influence future work and travel opportunities, as criminal checks are common in come industries before granting employment.