Obtaining a financial advantage by deception – s 134.2 Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995


Under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, you may be charged with a criminal offence if you dishonestly obtain a financial advantage from a Commonwealth body by deception.

A “financial advantage” refers broadly to some kind of benefit or profit that you receive as a result of your actions – for example, obtaining cash or property or some kind of intangible benefit that improves your financial position.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we understand that being charged with a Commonwealth fraud offence can be a stressful experience.

However, you can rest assured that our fraud experts will fight hard to protect your rights from start to finish to secure the best possible outcome in your case.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

Before you can be found guilty of “obtaining property by deception,” the prosecution must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • That you obtained a financial advantage from a Commonwealth entity;
  • That you did so dishonestly;
  • That your actions constituted a deception.

If you do not believe that the prosecution will be able to prove each and every one of these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you may wish to speak to our experienced criminal lawyers about pleading “not guilty.”

Our criminal defence team is comprised of highly respected advocates with a wealth of experience fighting and winning complex Commonwealth fraud cases.

We are therefore equipped with the knowledge and experience necessary to best advise you of your options when it comes to securing a positive outcome in your case.

We will work relentlessly to cast doubt on the prosecution case by carefully examining all the evidence in order to identify weaknesses in the prosecution case.

Our advocates are highly skilled in the art of cross-examination and will strive to carefully deconstruct all prosecution witness testimony.

We will also assist in identifying any defences to the charges, which if raised, will result in the charges being dropped.

Examples of possible defences include:

  • Where you were coerced or threatened into obtaining the financial advantage (duress);
  • Where you made an honest and reasonable mistake – e.g. obtaining a benefit that you mistakenly believed that you were entitled to (honest and reasonable mistake of fact).

No matter how serious the allegations are, you can rest assured that your future is in the safe hands of our qualified and experienced fraud specialists.

Pleading Guilty

If you do not wish to fight the charges in court, you can choose to plead guilty from the outset.

You will then proceed to sentencing, which is where the judge determines the appropriate penalty.

This may be a beneficial step to take in some cases as it will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

They may therefore be inclined to impose a more lenient penalty than that which you would have received if you were found guilty by the court.

However, before pleading guilty, you should speak to one of our experienced criminal lawyers, who will be able to advise whether there is any way to defend the charges in court.

It may also help to know the maximum penalty that may apply in these cases, which for “obtain financial advantage by deception” is 10 years imprisonment.

While this penalty may seem lengthy, it’s important to remember that it is the absolute maximum and will only apply in the most serious cases.

The court will determine the appropriate penalty in your case after carefully considering all the facts and circumstances.

The types of penalties that the court can impose include:

It’s therefore important to get a good lawyer who can explain your side of the story in a favourable manner.

Our lawyers are well-versed in presenting effective sentencing submissions which emphasise the appropriateness of a lenient penalty.

We go above and beyond for our clients and can even assist you in obtaining character references and other documents that will maximise your chances of obtaining a lenient penalty.

Our hard work and dedication is reflected in our ability to obtain outstanding results in Commonwealth fraud matters which are consistently better than any other law firm.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Commonwealth fraud offences have the potential to result in heavy penalties under the law – however with the help of our criminal law specialists you can give yourself the best defence against the charges.

Our lawyers have considerable experience fighting and winning complex Commonwealth fraud cases and are best poised to give you the best advice about your options.

We pride ourselves on our proven track record of obtaining outstanding results in these types of cases thanks to the hard work and dedication of our expert defence team.

In every case, our experts work tirelessly to have the charges dropped at an early stage by identifying weaknesses in the prosecution case and writing to the prosecution raising these issues.

This means that our clients are often spared the stressful and expensive process of fighting the matter in court.

However, where the prosecution refuses to drop the charges, our specialists will fight to protect your interests.

We are passionate about defending our clients’ interests and will leave no stone unturned in our quest to obtain the best result.

Our senior lawyers will work alongside Sydney’s leading barristers to cast doubt on the prosecution evidence, including any witness testimony that may have a negative impact on your case.

We will also raise any possible defences to the charges, such as where your actions constituted an honest and reasonable mistake, or where you were threatened or coerced into obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

Our expert defence team can also help you obtain the most lenient penalty possible where you simply wish to plead “guilty” to the offence.

In these cases, we will prepare compelling sentencing submissions which highlight the need for a more lenient penalty based on “mitigating factors” such as your good character or lack of prior offending.

Get the best criminal lawyers on your side today – call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our experts to discuss your case.

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