Fraud is a generally used to describe an act of deception that is intended to result in personal gain or to cause a loss to another person and can be defined as a type of larceny (theft). There are several different offences which fall under the definition of fraud, including:
- Corporate fraud (sometimes referred to white-collar crime)
- Money laundering
- Identity theft
- Tax evasion
- Credit card fraud
- Employee fraud
The offence of Fraud
Under to section 192E of the Crimes Act, a person who ‘by deception, dishonestly obtains property belonging to another or obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage’ is guilty of committing an offence, with the maximum penalty 10 years imprisonment.
Given the operation of this section, it is important to understand the meaning of ‘obtaining financial advantage’ and ‘causing financial disadvantage’.
Obtaining a financial advantage includes actions done for oneself or another person; inducing a third person to do something that results in oneself or another person obtaining a financial advantage; and keeping a financial advantage that one has, whether the advantage is permanent or temporary.
Causing a financial disadvantage means can either be a direct disadvantage to another person or by inducing a third person to do something that results in another person suffering a financial disadvantage, whether the financial disadvantage is permanent or temporary.
In addition to the NSW offences, there are a range of other fraud offences contained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code 1995.
‘General Dishonesty’ is an offence where a person attempts to make a personal gain through dishonesty against a commonwealth entity. This includes Centrelink fraud, that is in circumstances where an individual is claiming benefits that they are not entitled to or claiming benefits in a false name. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment.
Fraud Related Offences
Several other offences can stem from acts of ‘dishonesty’.
Per section 192F, a person who dishonestly destroys or conceals any accounting record to obtain property belonging to another or obtaining a financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.
Section 192G makes it an offence for a person to dishonestly make or publish, or concur in making or publishing, any statement that is false or misleading in a material particular to obtain property belonging to another or obtaining a financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage. The maximum penalty for such actions is 5 years imprisonment.
Under section 192H, an officer of an organisation (a body corporate or unincorporated association) who, to deceive members or creditors of the organisation about its affairs, dishonestly makes or publishes, or concurs in making or publishing, a statement (whether or not in writing) that to his or her knowledge is or may be false or misleading in a material particular is guilty of an offence. The maximum penalty for such actions is 7 years imprisonment.