Being charged with fraud can have a devastating impact on your life, affecting your ability to work and obtain financial assistance in the future.
However, with the assistance of an experienced criminal lawyer with an in-depth knowledge of this complex area of the law, you can give yourself the strongest possible defence against the allegations.
Your Options in Court
To be found guilty of fraud under s 192E, the prosecution must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt:
- That by deception, you acted dishonestly
- That your deceptiion and dishonest actions allowed you to obtain a financial advantage or another person’s property, or caused someone else to suffer a financial disadvantage
- That your actions were either intentional or reckless
If you do not believe that the prosecution will be able to make out any one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you may wish to plead ‘not guilty’ to the charges and fight them in court to prove your innocence – for example, you may argue that you did not act deceptively or dishonestly.
You may also wish to raise a defence to explain or justify your actions. If raised successfully, a defence can result in a verdict of ‘not guilty’.
Available defences include:
- Where you accidently obtained a financial benefit that you were not entitled to because of an honest and reasonable mistake of fact
- Where you were coerced or threatened into the fraudulent conduct (duress)
- Where you were suffering from a mental illness at the time of the fraudulent conduct
- Where you engaged in the fraudulent conduct to prevent serious injury or danger (necessity)
An experienced criminal defence lawyer with a good track record of fighting and winning fraud matters will be able to best advise you on whether any of these defences apply in your case. They will also able to provide you with effective and persuasive legal representation in court.
If you do not want to fight the charges, you may wish to enter a plea of guilty at the first available opportunity.
There are several benefits to entering an early guilty plea – you will be spared the time and expense of a trial or hearing to determine your guilt, but perhaps most importantly, you may receive a discount on your sentence (in other words, you may receive a less onerous penalty).
However, before you plead guilty to any offence, it is important that you speak to an experienced criminal lawyer who will be able to advise you on whether you are able to raise a defence.
If you are willing to enter a guilty plea, it is also important to familiarise yourself with the maximum penalties that may apply.
If you are found guilty of fraud under s 192E of the Crimes Act, you could face a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. However, this is a maximum penalty – meaning that it will only apply in the most serious fraud cases.
The penalty that you will receive will depend on the facts and circumstances of your case, such as the extent of your dishonesty and the value of the financial benefit obtained. The court can also consider other factors, such as your prior criminal record and your likelihood of reoffending.
The court is able to impose a range of penalties, including:
- Good behaviour bond
- Community service order
- Intensive correction order
- Home detention
- Suspended sentence
- Full-time imprisonment
Remember, you can significantly increase your chances of getting a favourable penalty by getting an experienced criminal lawyer on your side with an in-depth knowledge of the law relating to fraud.
When you’re facing charges in relation to fraud, it can be difficult to know who to turn to for information about how the charges could impact you.
We have compiled some additional information below that may help you better understand what a fraud charge could mean for you.
What does the prosecution need to prove?
If you have been charged with fraud under s 192E of the Crimes Act, the prosecution must prove three things beyond a reasonable doubt before you can be found ‘guilty.’
That by deception, you acted dishonestly
The law says that you can act deceptively through words or any other conduct. This may include deceiving another person about your intentions, or using a computer, machine or electronic device to make an unauthorised transaction – for example, transferring money that is not yours.
Dishonesty is judged by 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 should have known that your conduct was dishonest according to the standards of an ordinary person.
That your deceptive or dishonest actions allowed you to obtain a financial advantage or another person’s property, or caused someone else to suffer a financial disadvantage
The prosecution must prove that you either obtained a financial benefit or obtained property (that is, you obtained ownership, possession or control of the property) for yourself or for another person, or allowed the property to be kept by you when it legally belonged to someone else.
For property to belong to another person, the other person must either have possession or control of the property, or they must legally own it.
Property can include physical property, as well as other intangible goods such as shares, debts, and electronic money.
You may also be found guilty of fraud where you cause another person to suffer a financial disadvantage – that is, where you cause another person to suffer a financial loss that they should not have suffered.
That your actions were either intentional or reckless
The prosecution must also prove that your actions were deliberate, or that they were reckless (that is, you should have known that what you were doing was dishonest and deceptive but you continued to do it anyway).
Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers?
Fraud can have a wide-reaching and negative impact on your life, affecting your employment prospects, as well as your ability to obtain finance and other monetary benefits.
That’s why, if you’ve been charged with a fraud offence, it’s important to ensure that you get an experienced criminal lawyer on your side to ensure that you have the strongest possible defence against the charges.
At Sydney Criminal Lawyers, our expert defence team has years of experience successfully defending clients in various fraud matters – from minor fraud matters, to large-scale, multi-million dollar operations.
We credit our success to the techniques that we have developed and refined over the years which enable us to get fraud charges withdrawn at an early stage in the proceedings.
Even if the evidence is strong, our dedicated advocates will fight hard to reduce the number and severity of charges to ensure that you get a positive outcome.
Our persuasive and persistent lawyers will skilfully represent you in court if necessary and present your case in a positive light.
So call the fraud experts today on (02) 9261 8881 and let us help you win your fraud case.