Do you need a fraud lawyer in Melbourne?
Fraud offences are often serious and complex matters that should be properly handled by an experienced Criminal Lawyer. Charges may also be accompanied by asset confiscation which itself requires expertise to navigate.
What we broadly call ‘Fraud’ matters can be categorised as follows:
- Obtaining property and / or financial advantage by deception
- False accounting, or making / using a false statement
Further, they are often also considered ‘white collar crimes’, as the offending commonly occurs in an office environment.
These matters usually revolve around an element of deception on the part of the accused, frequently by someone in a position of trust. We find that they are often committed over a medium to long period of time, rather than a short or isolated incident.
Importantly, the benefit derived from the fraud does not have to be obtained by the accused themselves, it can go to another. Large frauds or those committed in a significant breach of trust can result in terms of imprisonment.
What is fraud?
In the context of Victorian Criminal Law, the term ‘Fraud’ refers to several charges including obtaining property by deception, obtaining financial advantage by deception, making and / or using a false document, and blackmail.
Types of fraud
Anthony Isaacs have represented clients in a diverse range of fraud cases. A few of the matters we have dealt with include:
- Identity fraud
- Superannuation fraud
- Investment fraud
- Mass market fraud (including advance fee fraud)
- Tax fraud
- HECS fraud
- Centrelink fraud
- Securities and share market fraud (insider trading)
- Mortgage and loan fraud
- Credit card fraud (identity theft, card skimming, phishing, counterfeiting, etc.)
- Work cover fraud
- Crimes against businesses
Being interviewed regarding fraud
If you are in some way involved in a fraud investigation and are going to be interviewed by the Victorian or Australian Federal Police, it is very important that you seek expert legal advice before this occurs.
The same applies to any interviews conducted by an employer, forensic investigator or similar. Be very wary about participating in these types of interviews without speaking to someone first.
Contact one of the team at Anthony Isaacs today to ensure you are prepared for your interview.
Avoiding a prison sentence for fraud cases
Serious examples of fraud regularly end in prison sentences. Broadly speaking, the seriousness of the offence depends on:
- The value or amount of the property or financial advantage involved,
- The duration of the offending,
- The level of complexity and sophistication the accused acted with,
- The level of trust place in the accused,
- The detriment caused to the victim.
Common defences for fraud cases
To be found guilty of obtaining property or financial advantage by deception, the Prosecution must establish three elements:
- The accused represented themselves in a way that they knew to be false (or they acted recklessly without full knowledge that they were being deceptive)
- The victim believed the representations by the accused were true
- The accused was dishonest – i.e. they knew they were not the rightful owner of funds/goods
Essentially, the accused must have been aware that they were deceiving the victim (or acting recklessly without full knowledge that they were truly being deceptive) and the victim must have been genuinely deceived by the accused. Further, ‘dishonest’ in this context refers to the accused acting without a belief in legal ownership of the property, rather than the ordinary meaning of the word. With that said, a moral belief in property alone is insufficient.
The most common defences for fraud cases involve the defence dismantling one, two or all of these elements to establish guilt.
Am I likely to go to jail if I’m found guilty?
Like many criminal offences, fraud charges can carry a term of imprisonment. In some cases, this may be years in prison, however the length of the sentence, and a prison term is imposed at all will depend on several factors. For lower level offending, an accused may receive a Community Corrections Order, a fine or an Undertaking to be of good behaviour.
What if I unwillingly became involved in a fraud on another person?
As detailed above, the Prosecution must prove that persons involved in a fraud intended to deceive, or were reckless as to the deception of the victim(s) of the fraud. Therefore, if it cannot be established that you intended to deceive, then you cannot be found guilty of the offence. As to whether you were acting recklessly, it must be established that you knew the representations made were probably untrue.
What should I do if I have been charged with fraud?
If you have been charged with fraud it is essential that you seek the appropriate legal council. Anthony Isaac’s Melbourne-based team have defended our clients at both the Magistrate’s and County courts. We have unparalleled experience dealing with fraud-related offences, which allows us to amount the strongest legal case for your circumstances.
We regularly deal with persons charged with frauds worth $100,000s or more. If you have been charged with fraud, it is imperative that you seek expert legal counsel, particularly as your assets may be at risk. We can provide specialist advice and strategy to achieve the best possible outcomes.
If you are a suspect or you have been charged with fraud contact Anthony Isaacs today for an obligation free, confidential discussion.