Pursuant to section 408C of the Criminal Code (Qld), a person commits fraud if the individual dishonestly:

  • Apply to his or her own use or to the use of any person:
    1. Property belonging to another; or
    2. Property belonging to the person, or which is in the person’s possession, either solely or jointly with another person, subject to a trust, direction or condition or on account of any other person; or
  • Obtains property from any person; or
  • Induces any person to deliver property to any person; or
  • Gains a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for any person; or
  • Causes a detriment, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person; or
  • Induces any person to do any act which the person is lawfully entitled to abstain from doing; or
  • Induces any person to abstain from doing any act which that person is lawfully entitled to do; or
  • Makes off, knowing that payment on the spot is required or expected for any property lawfully supplied or returned or for any service lawfully provided, without having paid and with intent to avoid payment.

Dishonesty

Although there is a wide range of behaviour encapsulated in the offence of fraud, the one consistent element is that the accused must have acted dishonestly.

However, whether a person has acted dishonestly is clearly a difficult matter for the Court to determine.

The issue of dishonesty was examined in R v Laurie [1987] 2 Qd R 762, where Connolly J stated that it is necessary to consider:

  1. Whether the defendant’s actions should be considered dishonest by the standards of ordinary honest people; and if so
  2. Whether the accused must have realised that their conduct was dishonest.

In determining whether the accused acted dishonestly, the Court will need to consider the above elements by the standards of an ordinary, honest and reasonable person. Should the Court find that the above elements have been met to this standard, the accused will be considered to have acted dishonestly.

Maximum Penalty

The maximum penalty for the offence of fraud is five years imprisonment. However, this maximum penalty is significantly increased where the following aggravating circumstances apply:

  1. the offender is a director or officer of a corporation, and corporation is the victim of the fraud – Maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment;
  2. the offender is an employee of the victim – Maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment;
  3. any property in relation to which the offence is committed came into the possession or control of the offender subject to a trust, direction or condition that it should be applied to any purpose or be paid to any person specified in the terms of trust, direction or condition or came into the offender’s possession on account of any other person – Maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment;
  4. the property, or yield to the offender from the dishonesty, or the detriment caused, is of a value of at least $30,000.00 but less than $100,000.00. – Maximum penalty of 14 years imprisonment;
  5. the property, or yield to the offender from the dishonesty, or the detriment caused, is of a value of at least $100,000.00. – Maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment; and
  6. the offender carries on the business of committing the offence – Maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment;

Fraud is an extremely serious offence and being found guilty is likely to incur a term of imprisonment. However, the effective presentation of mitigation factors to the Court may assist in obtaining a more lenient penalty.

Fraud offences are often extremely complicated, involving several complex legal considerations. If you are charged with fraud, it is important to obtain legal advice to ensure that your rights are effectively protected.

At A.L.F. Lawyers, we are highly experienced in dealing with fraud offences. If you would like assistance with your matter, please contact our office to organise a consultation.

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