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Plead not guilty

In order to be convicted of this offence, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. You engaged in conduct; and
  2. As a result of that conduct, you obtained a financial advantage for yourself or another person; and
  3. You knew or believed that you were not eligible to receive that financial advantage; and
  4. The other person is a Commonwealth entity.

The commonwealth entity referred to in this offence is often Centrelink. Some forms of Centrelink fraud to which this offence applies include:

  • Obtaining a single parent allowance and failing to declare a live-in defacto relationship;
  • Not declaring all income received over a certain period;
  • Incorrectly stating income;
  • Not correcting an incorrect estimate;
  • Not declaring a relevant change of circumstances.

Each time a person receives a payment a separate offence is committed.

If any of the above elements at 1 – 4 cannot be proven beyond reasonable doubt, then you will be found not guilty of the offence.

Our experienced criminal lawyers will advise you of your prospects of successfully defending any charge brought against you and fight to have you found not guilty of the offence.

Plead guilty

If you agree with what the police are alleging against you, the way to get the best result is often to plead guilty as it demonstrates remorse and contrition as well as meaning that you will be entitled to a discount on your sentence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment of 12 months. However, this is an offence that may sometimes be dealt with pursuant to section 10 of the Crimes (Sentence Procedure) Act, meaning no conviction will be recorded, there is no other penalty and you will have no criminal record. To find out more about a section 10, click here.

Generally, penalties that a court can impose for any criminal offence in NSW are: