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Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception

Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception is an offence under Section 134.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

  1. You dishonestly obtained a financial advantage from another
  2. You did so by a deception, and
  3. The advantage was obtained from a Commonwealth entity

An act is ‘dishonest’ even if you intended to pay for it.

‘Deception’ means an intentional or reckless deception, whether by words or conduct, and whether as to fact or law, and includes:

  1. A deception as to your intentions or that of another person, and
  2. Conduct that causes a computer, machine or electronic device to make a response you are not authorised to cause

Defences to the charge include:

  1. Duress
  2. Necessity, and
  3. Having a ‘claim of right’ over the property which means you genuinely believed you were legally entitled to it

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