Obtaining Property by Deception – s 134.1 Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995


“Obtaining property by deception” is a Commonwealth fraud offence.

It refers to situations where you dishonestly obtain money property that belongs to a Commonwealth body or entity without the relevant authority, or by lying to or deceiving another person.

While it can be daunting and stressful to be accused of a Commonwealth fraud offence such as obtaining property by deception, you can take the first step towards a positive outcome in your case by enlisting the help of our experienced criminal lawyers.

With years of experience fighting and winning some of the most complex fraud cases, you can rest assured that our lawyers have the knowledge and skill to secure the best possible result in your fraud case.

Your Options in Court

Pleading Not Guilty

If you believe that you are innocent, you may choose to enter a plea of “not guilty.” Our experienced criminal defence lawyers can then assist you in fighting the charges in court.

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

  • That you obtained property belonging to a Commonwealth entity;
  •  That you had the intention of permanently depriving the entity of the property;
  •  That you obtained the property dishonestly by deception.

If the prosecution is unable to prove these elements beyond a reasonable doubt, you will be found “not guilty” of the offence.

Our lawyers will therefore work tirelessly to cast doubt on the prosecution case by raising all evidence that supports your case and dismantling the prosecution evidence and witness testimony.

We can also assist in identifying and raising all relevant defences to the charges, for example:

  • Where you were coerced or threatened into obtaining the property by deception (duress)
  • Where you made an honest and reasonable mistake – e.g. keeping property that you mistakenly believed that you were entitled to honest and reasonable mistake of fact

Our criminal defence team has extensive experience fighting and winning complex Commonwealth fraud cases and consistently obtains better results than any other law firms, even in the most serious cases.

Pleading Guilty

In some cases, you may not wish to fight the charges against you. In these situations, you may simply wish to enter a plea of guilty upfront.

If you choose this option you will proceed straight to sentencing, which is where the judge determines the appropriate penalty.

This can often be beneficial as it will show the court that you have accepted responsibility for your actions.

Accordingly, the court may impose a more lenient penalty than that which you would have received had you been found guilty following a criminal trial – this is known as a ‘discount’ on your sentence.

However, before pleading guilty to “obtaining property be deception,” it is strongly recommended that you speak to one of our experienced criminal defence lawyers, who will be able to advise whether there is any way to fight the charges and escape a conviction altogether.

You should also be aware of the maximum penalty that may apply if you decide to plead guilty, which is 10 years imprisonment.

However, this is the absolute maximum and it will only apply in the most serious cases.

The court will decide the appropriate penalty after considering all the facts and circumstances of your case – so it pays to have an experienced lawyer on your side who can tell your side of the story in the most favourable manner.

The types of penalties that the court can impose include:

Our specialist criminal defence team can assist you in avoiding these onerous penalties by preparing and presenting compelling sentencing submissions which focus on “mitigating” factors which reduce the seriousness of your actions.

Our ability to obtain outstanding results in even the most serious of cases is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our specialist defence lawyers.

What the law says about obtaining property by deception?

The law is often difficult to navigate and understand – which is why it can help to have a common sense explanation of legal terms.

We have compiled some additional information below about the offence of “obtaining property by deception” in order to assist you in understanding the law.

What does “obtaining property” mean?

You will be found to have obtained property where you:

  • Gain ownership, possession or control of the property for yourself or another person;
  • Allow yourself or another person to gain ownership, possession or control of the property;
  • Induce a third party to pass ownership, possession or control of the property to another person;
  • Induce a third party to allow another person to retain ownership, possession or control of the property;
  • Cause money to be transferred from another person’s account to your own;
  • Cause money to be transferred from another person’s account to the account of a third party.

What does “deception” mean?

The prosecution must prove that you obtained the property in question by deceiving another person.

You may have deliberately deceived the other person, or you may have done so recklessly (that is, you should have known that your conduct would or could have deceived another person.)

You may be taken to have acted deceptively where you:

  • Engage in conduct that causes a computer, machine or electronic device to make an unauthorised response or transaction;
  • Where you lie or mislead another person about your intentions.

What does “intention to permanently deprive” mean?

To be found guilty of obtaining property by deception, the prosecution must prove that you had the intention to permanently deprive the Commonwealth entity of the property in question.

This means that you must have deliberately taken the property without any intention of returning it to the Commonwealth entity.

You will be found to have had an intention to permanently deprive the Commonwealth entity of the property where:

  • You do not intend for the Commonwealth to permanently lose the property in question, but you intend to treat the property of your own to dispose of regardless of the fact that it is not yours, or;
  • Where you borrow the property from the Commonwealth entity, or lend the property to another person for such a lengthy period of time that it amounts to taking the property in question;
  • Where the property is in your possession and you lend it to another person without the authority of the Commonwealth entity, knowing that they may not give it back.

Why Sydney Criminal Lawyers®?

Being accused of a Commonwealth fraud offence such as “obtaining property by deception” is often a stressful and unnerving experience.

In these situations, it can come as a great comfort to have an experienced criminal lawyer on your side whom you can trust to fight hard to protect your rights.

At Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, we are passionate about defending our clients’ interests.

Our expert knowledge and understanding of Commonwealth fraud offences enables us to consistently secure outstanding results in even the most difficult matters.

In every case, our lawyers strive to have matters resolved at an early stage by carefully examining all the evidence in order to identify problems and deficiencies in the prosecution case.

Where issues are identified, our lawyers can write compelling letters to the prosecution asking to have the charges dropped on this basis.

Often, this means that our clients avoid the time, expense and stress of fighting the charges in court.

However, where your matter proceeds to court, our highly experienced senior lawyers will work alongside Sydney’s most respected criminal barristers to cast doubt on the prosecution case and avoid a conviction.

We are able to secure these favourable results by raising all favourable evidence in a compelling manner whilst dismantling the prosecution case and witness testimony.

We can also help you obtain the most lenient outcome possible in your case should you wish to plead guilty, by presenting persuasive sentencing submissions which stress the benefits of a lenient penalty.

So don’t settle for second best – get Sydney’s most experienced criminal defence team on your side today. Call us now on (02) 9261 8881 and book your FREE first conference with our experienced advocates.

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