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Fraud

What the law says

Sections 408C of the Criminal Code Queensland states:

  1. A person who dishonestly-
    • (a) applies to his or her own use or the use of any person-
      • (i) property belonging to another
      • (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 person; or
    • (b) obtains property from any person; or
    • (c) induces any person to deliver property to any person; or
    • (d) gains benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, to 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 from abstaining 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;

commits the crime of fraud.

What the police must prove

In order for the Police to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.


    • (a) The accused applied to his or her own use
      • (i) property belonging to another
      • (ii) property belonging to the accused, or which is in the accused’s possession, either solely or jointly with another person, subject to a trust, direction or condition or on account of any other person.
        "Applied" means taking or using another’s property for the accused’s own purposes.
      Or
    • (b) The accused obtained the property from any person.
      "Obtain" includes to get, gain, receive or acquire in any way (s 408C (3) (e))
      Or
    • (c) the accused induced any person to deliver property to any person.
      Or
    • (d) The accused gained a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person.
      Or
    • (e) The accused caused a detriment, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person
      Or
    • (f) The accused induced any person to do an act which the person was lawfully entitled to abstain from doing
      Or
    • (g) The accused induced any person to abstain from doing an act which the person was lawfully entitled to do
      Or
    • (h) the accused made off knowing that payment on the spot was required or expected for property lawfully supplied or returned or any service lawfully provided, without having paid and with intent to avoid payment.
  1. The action of the defendant must have been done dishonestly.

To prove the accused acted dishonestly the prosecution must prove that what the defendant did was dishonest by the standards of ordinary honest people and that the defendant realised that what he or she did was dishonest by those standards.

Specific provision in s 408C(b) and (c) in relation to whether an act or omission is dishonest.

It will be necessary for the Police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.

Maximum penalty

The Maximum penalty for the offence of Fraud is between 5 and 10 years depending on the circumstances of the offence.

Which court will hear the matter

This matter may be indictable which means it is dealt with in the District Court.

It may also be dealt with in the Magistrates Court.

Possible defences

Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to

  1. Duress
  2. Actions were honest or a result of an honest and reasonable mistake
  3. Honest claim of right
  4. That the thing taken was not property
  5. Insanity
  6. The accused had consent
  7. Actions were part of a civil dispute.

Criminal Law Article written by Bill Potts (a Queensland criminal defence lawyer who is experienced in Fraud matters)

 

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