Our experienced criminal law solicitors have prepared a brief overview of the law relating to fraud.
If you or someone you care about is facing a charge of fraud, you need specific advice and should contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on 55800120 for advice.
For more information on other criminal charges, visit our DISHONESTY OFFENCES.
Fraud – The Law
Section 408C of the Criminal Code of Queensland creates the offence of fraud. The section provides:
(1) A person who dishonestly—
(a) applies to his or her own use or to the use of any person—
(i) property belonging to another; or
(ii) 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
(b) obtains property from any person; or
(c) induces any person to deliver property to any person; or
(d) gains a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for any person; or
(e) causes a detriment, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person; or
(f) induces any person to do any act which the person is lawfully entitled to abstain from doing; or
(g) induces any person to abstain from doing any act which that person is lawfully entitled to do; or
(h) 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;
Elements of the offence
To be found guilty of the offence of fraud, the prosecution is required to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, the following elements:
- The accused dishonestly applies to their own use
- property of another
The maximum penalty for the an allegation of fraud is five years imprisonment.
The maximum penalty is increased where one of the following circumstances of aggravation are made out:
- the offender is a director or officer of a corporation, and the victim is the corporation (Corporate Fraud) – 14 years imprisonment.
- the offender is an employee of the victim – 14 years imprisonment.
- 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 – 14 years imprisonment.
- the property, or the yield to the offender from the dishonesty, or the detriment caused, is of a value of at least $30,000 but less than $100,000 – 14 years imprisonment
- the property, or the yield to the offender from the dishonesty, or the detriment caused, is of a value of at least $100,000 – 20 years imprisonment
- the offender carries on the business of committing the offence – 14 years imprisonment
Jurisdiction – Where will the matter be heard?
The offence of fraud is an indictable offence.
The charge will initially be commenced in the Magistrates Court, and will ultimately proceed on Indictment and be finalised in the District Court of Queensland.
Conviction – Does a conviction have to be recorded?
The sentencing Court has a discretion whether or not to record a conviction against you for the offence of fraud. Generally a conviction would not be recorded for a minor first offence for this type of offence, although one is likely for subsequent convictions, or where a circumstance of aggravation is made out.
The relevant factors are set out in section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992, and include, the nature of the offence, the offenders character and age, together with the impact the recording a conviction would have on the offenders chances of finding employment. If you are concerned about a conviction being recorded on you or a loved you should seek legal advice.
For legal advice specific to your matter, you should immediately contact Gatenby Criminal Lawyers on (07) 5580 0120.