Fraud offences generally fall into the categories of general fraud, identity fraud and forgery.
Fraud offences (aka White Collar Crime) carry high maximum penalties. The can be any of the following:
- Fraud offences
- Identity crime offences
- Forgery Offences
- Money Laundering
- Taxation offences
- Company Law offences
- Environmental offences
- Centrelink Fraud
- Insider Trading
Essentially, fraud matters involve a level of deception or dishonest means to obtain a benefit to another person’s expense. With the increased development and use of technology within the community, fraud has virtually no boundary or border – it need not be committed in person.
The use of information skimming devices is widespread. The ability to replicate or copy identification documents such as passports and licences has made it significantly easier for people to commit fraud using a false identity or by forging a document or a signature.
Fraud takes many forms. Given the deceptive nature of the offence, fraud trials can be complex. Fraud cases often require the hearing of lengthy and detailed evidence, often dating back many years, if not decades. As such, it is vital you instruct a lawyer who is a specialist in the field.
Social security is a serious offence. Courts do not take Centrelink fraud offences lightly, even if benefits were received by you accidently. You should obtain legal advice from our specialist criminal lawyers if charged with Centrelink fraud offences. Our lawyers have a combined experience of more than 20 years of criminal law practise. To have your case analysed by high quality lawyers, call us on 02 9708 6832 or 0422 372 695.
Centrelink fraud is committed in a number of ways but generally it means a person making false, misleading or incorrect statements to Centrelink to receive benefits. It is easy to get caught and charged with a Centrelink fraud offence as Centrelink obtains information from payment cheques, data matching, and cross-checks with the ATO. But it’s not so easy to defend the offence. That is why you need to speak with our criminal defence lawyers for expert legal advice.
Centrelink fraud can begin from just receiving an incorrect benefit and not dealing with the situation appropriately. If you know or suspect you received benefits incorrectly, you should obtain legal advice before Centrelink catches up with you to force payment and appear in court to answer to criminal charges.
Where you are contacted by Centrelink, or you have received an incorrect payment, obtain competent professional advice and assistance from our lawyers.
Sentences for Fraud in New South Wales
The maximum sentence for a conviction for fraud in the District Court is 10 years gaol, if the monetary amount of the fraud is over $5,000. For cases which are heard in the Local Court, the maximum sentence is up to 2 years gaol.
When sentencing a person convicted of fraud, the court will take into account a range of factors, including:
The amount of money involved;
The length of time over which the offences are committed;
The degree of planning;
Whether there is a breach of trust.
A demonstratration of remorse or attempts to repay the amount will help to decrease the sentence.
Defences to a charge of fraud
Defending charges of fraud requires a very close and rigorous examination of the prosecution Brief of Evidence. The Brief of Evidence commonly includes Banker’s Affidavits and reports by Accountants, as well as the Statement of the investigating Police, ASIC or ATO officers, It often happens that rigorous examination of these documents can reveal substantial gaps in the prosecution case or expose technical defences which can be exploited.
There are defences available to a person accused of fraud. These include duress and necessity or that you did not do the fraud or had no knowledge of the fraud. Our criminal defence lawyers will analyse your case in detail and advise you if there is a defence available in your case.
If you cannot or do not wish to defend the charges against you, and if your case proceeds to a sentencing hearing we can assess all mitigating circumstances that may be available to you, such as gambling problems and debt problems, alcohol and depression and we can obtain reports from psychologists and other experts for use in Court so you get the most lenient sentence possible.
At all times we will vigorously pursue your interests whether that involves appearing for you in Court to defend the charges or appearing for you in a Sentence Hearing, or negotiating with the Police, the DPP, the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Customs or ASIC.