The charge of “obtaining a benefit by deception” is commonly known as fraud.
Fraud charges can be considered as particularly serious, depending on the extent of the fraud, and how long it went on for.
It is important that you know your rights before going to court.
Plead not guilty
In order to be convicted of this offence, the police must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
- A person by any deception, dishonestly,
- obtained property belonging to another person, or
- obtained any financial advantage or caused any financial disadvantage.
If the above elements can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, you will still be found not guilty if any of the following defences can be established:
The Elements of Fraud
For the prosecution to prove that you have committed this offence, they must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you acted dishonestly, and that a benefit or financial advantage was actually obtained.
Often, it can be difficult for the prosecution to prove that you were acting dishonestly, without any admission of guilt by yourself about your intentions.
Did you think that you were entitled to obtain the benefit, and acted honestly in obtaining it?
Did you obtain a benefit, but without dishonesty or deception?
There may be various ways to defend the charge.
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.
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. Alternatively, it may be the case that one of our experienced solicitors can negotiate with prosecutors for you to plead guilty to a less serious charge.
The offence of Fraud carries a maximum penalty of 2 years imprisonment in the Local Court and a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment in the District Court. Fraud is an offence that captures a wide range of conduct. Depending on the seriousness of the offending, it may be possible for the offence to 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: