Being accused of fraud can be damaging to your reputation and future, however a great starting point when it comes to fighting the charges is understanding what the law says.
The offence of fraud is contained in section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900.
Section 192E says that you commit fraud where you act “deceptively or dishonesty” to obtain some form of property or financial advantage, or to cause another person financial disadvantage.
You can still be charged with fraud where you paid money to the other person for the property – so long as you can be shown to have acted “deceptively or dishonestly.”
You can act “deceptively or dishonestly” through your words or conduct.
Examples of deceptive or dishonest actions include misleading another person about your intentions, or using a computer, machine or electronic device to make an unauthorised transaction, such as transferring money that does not belong to you.
In every case, the court will judge whether or not your actions were deceptive or dishonest by using the standard of an ordinary person.
This means that the court will consider whether an ordinary person would have found your conduct to be dishonest, and whether you knew, or should have known that your conduct was dishonest according to the standards of an ordinary person.
Under the law, the maximum penalty for fraud is 10 years’ imprisonment.
While this is a lengthy penalty, it’s important to bear in mind that it is the maximum and will therefore only apply in serious cases.
Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 deals with the offence of fraud and reads as follows:
(1) A person who, by any deception, dishonestly:
(a) obtains property belonging to another, or
(b) obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage,
is guilty of the offence of fraud. Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.
(2) A person’s obtaining of property belonging to another may be dishonest even if the person is willing to pay for the property.
(3) A person may be convicted of the offence of fraud involving all or any part of a general deficiency in money or other property even though the deficiency is made up of any number of particular sums of money or items of other property that were obtained over a period of time.
(4) A conviction for the offence of fraud is an alternative verdict to a charge for the offence of larceny, or any offence that includes larceny, and a conviction for the offence of larceny, or any offence that includes larceny, is an alternative verdict to a charge for the offence of fraud.
If you’ve been charged with a fraud offence, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible from a lawyer who has considerable experience winning fraud cases.
The highly experienced fraud lawyers at Sydney Criminal Lawyers® can help you fight the charges to avoid a conviction by proving to the court that you did not commit the necessary “elements” of the offence.
Our skilled lawyers can also assist you in raising a defence to the charges, such as where you accidently obtained a financial benefit that you weren’t entitled to due to an honest and reasonable mistake, or where you were coerced or threatened into committing the fraudulent conduct (duress).
In many cases, our lawyers have been able to have charges dropped on this basis at an early stage – saving you the time and expense of fighting the charges in court.
Alternatively, if you wish to accept the charges and plead guilty, our expert lawyers can help you obtain a lenient penalty by drawing attention to “mitigating factors,” such as your lack of a criminal record and low likelihood of reoffending.
We can also help portray your case in a positive light where you were not in a position of trust when you committed the fraud, or where the amount of property obtained was small.
For the best defence in your fraud case, get Sydney’s fraud experts on your side today. Call us on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our lawyers today.