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.
If you are going to court for the offence of Fraud, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers 24/7 on (02) 9261 8881 to arrange a free first conference with an experienced defence lawyer who will advise you of your options and the best way forward, and fight to secure the optimal outcome.
Read on for more information.
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.
Why Choose Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?
Going to court can be nerve-racking, but having a strong and compassionate legal team behind you can make the experience significantly easier to deal with.
Here are 12 reasons to choose our multi-award winning legal team:
Proven Track Record of Exceptional Results
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® consistently achieves outcomes which are in the highest percentile of the Judicial Commission’s sentencing statistics for criminal cases.
Our legal team devises effective case-strategies and fights hard to have cases dropped entirely or charges downgraded – saving clients the time, expense and stress of a defended hearing or jury trial.
Where cases nevertheless proceed, our lawyers have an outstanding track record of winning defended Local Court hearings, and complex jury trials in the District and Supreme Courts.
We also consistently win appeals in the District and Supreme Courts (including the NSWCCA) after clients have received unsatisfactory results with other law firms in the lower courts.We are one of the few firms to achieve successful criminal law appeals in the High Court of Australia.
Where our clients wish to plead guilty, we frequently achieve ‘dismissals’ and ‘non convictions’ in cases where other lawyers have advised there is no chance of doing so.
Highest Level of Client Satisfaction
We have the best and most comprehensive client review record of any law firm in Australia.
Regular communication, accessibility and quality service are our team’s highest priorities.
We are committed to thoroughly explaining all steps involved in the criminal law process, providing regular updates throughout the proceedings, and making ourselves accessible and responsive.
We are passionate about providing an exceptional level of service to our clients, and we fight hard to achieve optimal results in the shortest period of time.
Australia’s Most Awarded Criminal Law Firm
We have received more awards and accolades than any other criminal law firm in Australia. Our team has been awarded “Criminal Defence Firm of the Year in Australia” in a number of prestigious and competitive awards programs for several years running.
The awards recognise our exceptional track record of results, our outstanding client service, the high level of satisfaction we achieve, the affordability of our services and our overall excellence.
We want our clients to know exactly how much their cases will cost from the very start. That’s why we were the first criminal law firm in Australia to publish ‘fixed fees’, back in 2004.
We offer fixed fees for most types of criminal cases and services.Our fixed fees apply to a range of Local Court cases such as drink driving, drug possession, fraud, common assault and AVOs, and also specific services such as prison visits, bail applications, appeals and defended hearings.
Unlike many other law firms, our fixed fees are published on our website – which ensures transparency and certainty.
Free First Appointment
For those who are going to court, we offer a free first conference of up to an hour with one of our Senior Criminal Defence Lawyers.
We also offer a free first conference to those who have received an unsatisfactory result after being represented in court by another law firm, or after representing themselves, and wish to appeal.
Specialist Lawyer Guarantee
We guarantee that only lawyers with substantial criminal defence experience will work on your case and appear for you in court.
This ensures our clients receive the highest quality representation from an experienced, specialist criminal lawyer.
All NSW Courts
From Bombala to Broken Hill, our lawyers appear in courts throughout New South Wales – and across Australia for Commonwealth cases.
And we offer fixed fees for most criminal and traffic law cases throughout the state.
Our entire firm is exclusively dedicated to criminal law – which makes us true specialists.
All of our lawyers have years of experience representing clients in criminal cases, and our principal has been certified by the Law Society of NSW as an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist since 2005.
An ‘Accredited Specialist’ is a lawyer who has practised for at least 5 years in a particular field of law (such as criminal law), has passed a rigorous assessment process conducted by the Law Society of NSW, and has been selected by the Specialist Accreditation Committee of the Law Society as an expert in the field.
Accredited Specialists are required to undertake more training each year than other lawyers and must be successful in having their accreditation renewed every year. Specialist Accreditation is the mark of a true specialist.
Our firm’s specialist experience ensures you receive the best possible result, whatever your criminal law case may be.
Results-Focused Law Firm
Our team is passionate about achieving results, and unlike many other law firms, our lawyers do not have monthly financial ‘budgets’ to meet.
The absence of budgets means our lawyers are entirely focused on achieving optimal results in the shortest space of time; whether by getting charges dropped or downgraded at an early stage or having cases ‘thrown out of court’.
Not having budgets also means our lawyers are not under pressure to engage in unscrupulous practices such as unnecessarily adjourning cases or ‘overcharging’ clients – which, sadly, is a common complaint against many other lawyers and law firms.
No budgets encourages regular consultation between lawyers within the firm – promoting an ‘open door’, team environment where lawyers bounce ideas off one another, formulate case strategy together and benefit from each other’s specialised experience, methods, techniques and insights.
The result is a firm which delivers optimal outcomes in the shortest time periods, at the least expense and stress to our clients.
Team of Lawyers Behind You
Our clients benefit from the pool of knowledge that only an extensive team of experienced criminal defence lawyers can provide.
Our lawyers regularly consult one another to stay ‘ahead of the pack’ in the ever-changing field of criminal law – constantly devising, refining and implementing specialised techniques which ensure our clients achieve the best possible outcomes.
A team approach is particularly important when it comes to serious criminal cases such as murder, commercial drug cases, serious and sexual assaults, large-scale fraud, robbery and other ‘indictable’ cases.
In such matters, clients reap the benefits of several lawyers devising and executing case strategies which maximise the chances of having cases dropped or downgraded at an early stage, or ‘thrown out of court’ – often saving clients a great deal of cost, time and anxiety.
Familiar with Magistrates and Judges
Each of our lawyers appears in court on a daily basis, and has done so for years. We have therefore been able to develop an understanding of, and rapport with, magistrates and judges in Sydney and indeed across the state.
Our team’s extensive experience before the courts ensures your case is tailored to the specific nuances of individual judicial officers, maximising the likelihood of a favourable result.
We have offices in locations across the Sydney Metropolitan Area and beyond, including:
- the Sydney CBD, on Castlereagh Street, directly opposite Downing Centre Court,
- Parramatta, opposite the Justice Precinct carpark,
- Liverpool, and
We offer free parking at our Sydney CBD offices, and all of our offices are close to train stations and bus terminals.
For those who are unable to attend our offices, we offer conferences by telephone, Skye and FaceTime anywhere around the world.
If you are going to court and wish to arrange a free first consultation, call our 24 hour hotline on (02) 9261 8881 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not Guilty of All 22 Fraud Charges and Participate in Criminal Group
Our client is 31 year old man from Canley Vale in Sydney.
He was employed as a Premium Baccarat Croupier at The Star Casino.
Two men attended casino on several occasions over a 10 day period to play Premium Baccarat on the table our client was servicing.
The casino became suspicious of the activity on the table after observing the betting patterns of the two men, after each of their intermittent large bets allegedly invariably returned wins.
The casino arranged for the examination of CCTV footage which, it claimed, showed our client raising a few of the cards from the top and bottom of the deck and thereby revealing their values, then making hand signals to indicate whether or not to make a large bet.
The casino reported the information to the police and all three men were charged with 22 counts of fraud under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 and one count of participate in criminal group.
The total amount allegedly defrauded was more than $3.3 million.
Our client was adamant that alleged offences did not occur and his behaviour was consistent with the rules of the game.
As the DPP only served the allegedly ‘incriminating’ footage, we subpoenaed all footage of our client dealing over the course of his employment, painstakingly viewed all of that footage and prepared extensive material to suggest our client:
(a) on several occasions placed his hand on the side which the prosecution suggested would trigger a ‘large bet’, but that action did not result in such a bet being placed,
(b) our client’s style of dealing was to fan cards, and
(c) there was plentiful evidence that our client did not view cards when he dealt in that fashion.
We also subpoenaed extensive material from the casino to the effect that the manner of dealing was not against any rules or regulations.
The matter ultimately proceeded to a 7-week jury trial in Downing Centre District Court.
During the extensive cross-examination of prosecution witnesses, our team was able to systematically produce evidence which communicated the actual state of affairs to the jury.
Moreover, after all of the prosecution evidence had been given, our defence team tendered carefully drafted legal submissions to the sentencing judge in the absence of the jury to the effect that the prosecution evidence was incapable of establishing the essential element of ‘deception’ – as no deceived party had been identified. We asked the judge to direct an acquittal on that basis.
The submission was powerful and persuasive given recent decisions by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal to the effect that a deceived party must be identified in order for an offence of fraud to be established.
The submission appeared to have caught the prosecution by surprise, as the Crown prosecutor tried to argue that the deceived party was The Star Casino. That submission was clearly inconsistent with the NSWCCA decisions which require a particular person or party to be actively deceived and a causal link to be established between the deception and financial advantage derived.
The judge agreed with our submissions and directed the jury to acquit each of the co-accused on all charges.
No Conviction for 8 Counts of Embezzlement
Our client was working for a large retailer and was alleged by the company to have misappropriated nearly $20,000 worth of cash and stock. Even though our client denied almost all of the claims, our client was pressured into making admissions of significant wrongdoing, after having been threatened with severe criminal charges and lengthy gaol time by an external investigator. Our client was ambushed by the allegations, and did not have the benefit of legal representation or even another person in the room.
After being forced to sign a document under what could be described as conditions of duress, the matter was referred to Police, who subsequently laid multiple charges under section 157 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), Embezzlement by clerk or servant. The law allows for a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment for each count if the case is heard in the District Court, or two years if the case remains in the Local Court. A conviction would have been devastating for our client.
In its case, the Prosecution sought to adduce evidence of the forced admissions and rely on these to prove the guilt of our client.
Our client maintained throughout the legal process that although there might have been some minor transgressions, they were nowhere near the extent or amount of that claimed by the company, which had a history of problems with stock loss and misappropriation.
Our defence team worked closely with our client to ascertain exactly what had happened, and examined in detail the Prosecution Brief of Evidence. After forming a legal opinion, we prepared a strong argument on the exclusion of the admissions on the basis of them being wrongly obtained, and therefore inadmissible under section 85 of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW).
That provision of the Evidence Act refers to the reliability of admissions by defendants in criminal cases.
Admissions, by their very nature, are highly prejudicial to a defendant; that is, they carry substantial weight and are very persuasive to a judge or jury. The Australian Law Reform Commission, in considering the law, said that it ‘…requires the trial judge to be satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the admission was made in circumstances that were not likely to affect its truth adversely. The trial judge should determine, as a preliminary issue, whether the reliability of the admission may have been impacted by the way it was obtained. In making his decision he should take into account a number of factors – whether there was misconduct by those interrogating, whether procedural safeguards were adopted, whether the ability of the person making the admission to make rational decisions was substantially impaired.’
The law of admissions is balancing act. It recognises that admitting to a certain offence does and should be indicative of guilt. But it is also a procedural safeguard. Our system of laws is based on arriving at a conclusion on the basis of accurate, unbiased, and properly obtained evidence. Forced admissions are an affront to a good and fair legal system.
Ultimately, our team conducted a negotiations process with the Crown Prosecutor, which resulted in a plea of guilty being entered to a single charge and the facts more accurately reflecting what had actually occurred. On sentencing, the Court dismissed the matter without proceeding to conviction, conditional of our client being of good behaviour for a period of two years.
The case shows the importance of a forensic assessment of a Prosecution case and intimate understanding of evidentiary and procedural provisions, to ensure that our system of laws and procedural safeguards are maintained.
13 Fraud Charges Dismissed Due to Mental Health
Our client is a 48-year old registered nurse.
She was charged with 13 counts of ‘Dishonestly Obtain Financial Advantage by Deception’ under section 192E of the Crimes Act (‘fraud’), and one count of Larceny (stealing).
The ‘fraud’ charges each carry a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment and the maximum for larceny is 5 years.
Our client was alleged to have attended various Myer stores, and presented to the counter with unpaid items from within the stores, together with corresponding incorrect online receipts for a refund or return credit.
This was alleged to have occurred for nearly 6 months, resulting in over $10,000 being transferred into her bank account.
We obtained a psychological report during the course of the proceedings, evidencing that our client suffers from major depression and anxiety.
Based upon the contents of that report, we made an application under section 32 of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act for all of the charges to be dismissed provided our client completes a ‘treatment plan’ requiring her to, among other things, continue seeing her treating psychologist.
The presiding magistrate accepted our application in court, and our client was discharged under the section without a finding of guilt.
She is therefore free to continue her employment as a nurse, provided she continues getting the help she needs to overcome her underlying conditions.
Not Guilty of Stealing from Employer and Police Ordered to Pay Costs
Our client was a working for a large Australian telecommunications company when he allegedly ordered six iPhones worth $4000, without authorisation, using his user name and password.
Police alleged that he in fact received and kept the phones without paying for them, and charged him with ‘larceny as a clerk or servant’ under section 156 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), an offence which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
The evidence indeed suggested that our client ordered the phones, but other elements of the offence were lacking. We made a formal request for the charge to be withdrawn on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to establish beyond reasonable doubt that (a) the transaction was unauthorised, and (b) our client actually received and took the phones.
Police refused our request and the matter proceeded to hearing where, as expected, the Magistrate found our client not guilty on the very same grounds as we requested withdrawal.
We then made an application for our client’s legal costs to be paid by police by reason of inadequate police investigation. That application was supported by our letter requesting withdrawal.
The Presiding Magistrate granted our application and the NSW Police Force has been ordered to pay the entirety of our client’s legal costs.
Jury Finds Our Client Not Guilty After all Co-Accused Plead Guilty
Our client faced charges in relation to a sham marriage between his nephew and an Australian woman.
The prosecution served nine volumes of 'evidence', including telephone intercepts and a cheque for $30,000 from our client to one of the co-accused allegedly proving our client's direct involvement in the enterprise.
All three co-accused pleaded guilty to the charges, two of whom are awaiting sentencing in the District Court. They were represented by other criminal law firms.
A meticulous review of the prosecution brief revealed a number of significant holes in the prosecution case, which meant the charge could not be proved beyond a reasonable double.
The prosecution refused to withdraw the charges and the case proceeded to a jury trial in the District Court, during which the prosecution witness was cross-examined at length and the jury was given a full picture of the gaps and deficiencies in the prosecution case.
After several days of testimony, the jury retired for deliberations and ultimately returned a unanimous verdict of 'not guilty'.
Our client is extremely relieved to have taken our advice and defended his case in court.
Client Avoids Prison for $3.6 Million Fraud
Our client is a 41-year-old former business executive from Sydney who pleaded guilty to a complex $3.6 million fraud scheme.
Between 2008 and 2010, he and his co-offender submitted a large number of applications for finance to various companies on behalf of applicants. He presented himself to clients as being experienced in obtaining finance for businesses with poor credit situations.
Our client created false sales invoices, submitting them to credit providers along with completed applications signed by his clients.
Finance companies were thereby defrauded into providing credit for the purchase of non-existent office equipment using false sales invoices.
Our client and his co-offender retained commissions for the value of the loans, with the remainder being paid out to their clients.
Whilst a substantial portion of the loans were repaid in full, many clients defaulted on their loans, meaning that the credit providers were unable to recoup their losses.
Our client was originally charged with 156 counts of Obtaining Benefit by Deception, as well as Dealing with Proceeds of Crime (‘money laundering’).
Despite immediately admitting his involvement to police, our defence team was able to persuade the DPP to reduce the charges to just 5 counts of Obtain Benefit by Deception, with the Proceeds of Crime charge also being withdrawn..
Our lawyers left no stone unturned when preparing our client for his sentencing, obtaining reports, amending the agreed ‘facts’, obtaining various subjective materials and doing all that could be done to place him in the best possible light before the court – which was instrumental in differentiating his case from that of his co-offender.
Our Senior Lawyers were then able to persuade the Sentencing Judge in the Downing Centre District Court to impose a ‘suspended sentence’ and ‘community service’ – which means that our client avoids prison and can get on with his life.
His co-offender, who was represented by other lawyers, was sentenced to a minimum term of four years full time imprisonment.
Our client’s result is truly exceptional considering that those involved in such extensive fraud schemes almost invariably receive lengthy full time prison sentences.
No Criminal Record 13 Fraud Charges
The Presiding Judge in Downing Centre District Court was persuaded to issue a 'Section 32 order' in favour of our 41 year old client who was charged with 13 counts of 'obtaining a financial advantage'.
A 'Section 32 order' allows a court to dismiss a case without finding a person guilty or imposing a criminal conviction against them. A court can do this if the person was suffering from a 'mental condition' at the time of the alleged offences.
Our client was employed with Sydney City Council for nearly a decade. He was accused of forging a superior's signature and submitting 62 fraudulent claims for payment between December 2011 and December 2012.
The claims were all approved and our client was paid the funds. The discrepancies were detected and our client was found to be responsible. He then admitted to the offences.
Our legal team recognised that his underlying mental health conditions may have contributed to the offending behaviour. We obtained a psychological report showing that he suffered from depression and social phobia during the relevant period.
The case was persuasively argued in court and our client was discharged without conviction on the basis that he complies with a treatment plan for a period of 6 months.
Section 192E Fraud Dismissed Due to Mental Health
Downing Centre Local Court dismissed the case against our 50 year old client from Paddington who was charged with 'dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage' after making 268 fraudulent claims for payment over an 8 month period by accessing the Medibank Private online payment system.
Our lawyers obtained medical reports showing that our client suffers from Major Depressive Disorder.
We argued that the matter should be dealt with under 'section 32' of the Mental Health (Forensic Provisions) Act 1990 which allows a court to dismiss charges without conviction and without any finding of guilt if a person suffers from a 'mental condition' and it is 'appropriate' to place them on a treatment plan rather than imposing a criminal conviction.
The Magistrate accepted our argument and dismissed all charges against our client.
Larceny Charges Dismissed and Costs Ordered Against Police
Our client was the Manager of a Factory Outlet Centre in Homebush Bay.
Police alleged that she defrauded her employer of more than $46,000 over a 15 month period by transferring monies into false bank accounts and claiming that they were customer refunds.
They alleged that the refunds were clearly fraudulent because no garments were actually returned.
The defence argued that there was insufficient evidence to prove that our client created the fake bank accounts or benefited from the transactions.
The Magistrate accepted our argument, finding that the prosecution could not disprove that other employees may have created the accounts and received the funds.
The Magistrate dismissed the case against our client and then ordered police to pay her legal costs on the basis they did not properly investigate the possibility that the accounts may have been created by other employees.
Good Behaviour Bond for 2nd set of Fraud Charges within 3 Years
The Magistrate in Downing Centre Local Court imposed a 'section 9 Good Behaviour Bond' on our 31 year old client for 'dishonestly obtaining financial advantage' under s192E despite it being his second set of serious fraud charges within a three year period.
Our client was employed as a credit team member with a city-based company that sells computer goods.
He dishonestly transferred 23 separate payments to his own bank account over a 10 month period for amounts averaging $3000 by claiming that they were client refunds.
The funds were mainly used to feed his gambling addiction.
Sydney Criminal Lawyers® had the 23 charges reduced to a single charge, had the 'facts' of the case amended and arranged for our client's psychological counselling. We also prepared a repayment plan for the sums taken.
He thought he was headed for gaol because it was his second set of fraud charges within 3 years.
However, his case was thoroughly prepared and persuasively presented in court, resulting in the Magistrate ordering a 2 year Good Behaviour Bond conditional upon him regularly attending counselling.
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