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FRAUD & CYBERCRIME

Cybercrime

Cybercrime is a sophisticated transnational threat operating on a widespread scale and has become concern for the global community. With the growing use of the world wide web, comes an increase in cybercrime and fraud-related offences through the use of concealed identities and theft of information. The Australian community, as well as other countries, have seen a rise in white collar crimes as a result of increased Internet use, online trading, the use of online payment platforms and the use of online marketplaces to purchase and sell goods. Such offences committed over the Internet are difficult to detect and prosecute because the identity of the offender behind the computer screen. With that said, technology has vastly improved to enable police and other investigative bodies to prevent and hold persons accountable for cybercrime offences.

 

Cybercrime offences prosecuted in Australia include:

  • Unauthorised access to, or modification of, restricted data, pursuant to s.478.1(1) Criminal Code. The maximum penalty for this offence is 2 years’ imprisonment.

  • Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication, pursuant to s.477.3(1) Criminal Code. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment.

  • Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence, pursuant to s.474.17 Criminal Code. The maximum penalty for this offence is 3 years imprisonment.

 

Fraud

Fraud-related offences can range from making false statements to very sophisticated and highly structured offending designed to evade taxation obligations. The below is a summary of different types of fraud offences prosecuted in NSW.

 

Fraud is an offence commonly prosecuted under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and involves the use of deception to dishonestly obtain property or a financial advantage, or cause a financial disadvantage to another. The essential element of fraud offences is deception. Deception refers to any deceit by words or conduct. In order for you to be charged with a fraud offence, the deceptive words or conduct must also be intentional or reckless. The maximum penalty for an offence under section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) is imprisonment for 10 years.

 

Section 192F(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 outlines another type of fraud offence, which involves the intention to defraud by destroying or concealing accounting records, this includes destroying such records in order to obtain property belonging to another, obtaining any financial advantage or causing financial disadvantage. The maximum penalty is 5 years imprisonment.

 

Section 192H(1) is an offence that involves having the intention to deceive members or creditors by false or misleading statement of an officer of an organisation. This offence is punishable by a maximum prison term of 7 years.

 

There are three identity fraud offences outlined in Part 4AB of the (NSW). The first offence comes under section 192J and states that a person who deals in identification information with the intention of committing, or of facilitating the commission of, an indictable offence is guilty of an offence. This offence is punishable by 10 years imprisonment.

 

The second identity fraud offence comes under section 192K of the Crimes Act 1900 and related to possessing identification information with the intention of committing or facilitating an indictable offence. If you are charged with this offence, you could be facing up to 7 years imprisonment.

 

The final identity fraud offence is identified in section 192L of the Crimes Act 1900. This offence is related to the creation or intention to create false identification. It is an offence to possess any equipment of material that can be used to make a false identification document and intending to use this to commit or facilitate the commission of an indictable offence. The maximum penalty for this particular offence is 3 years imprisonment.

Forgery

There are four forgery offences in the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). The first involves the making of a false document. If a person who makes a false document with the intention that someone will use the document o induce someone else into believing it is genuine and because they have believed this, a person has gained property belonging to another, or has obtained financial advantage or has influenced the exercise of a public duty is guilty of forgery. The maximum term of imprisonment for this offence is 10 years.

 

The second forgery offence is related to using a false document. The maximum penalty for a person who charged with the offence of using a false document is 10 years imprisonment.

 

The final forgery offence is related to the possession of a false document, knowing that it was false. If you are found in possession of a false document and you intend on using it to convince someone that it is genuine and because if this, you are able to obtain property belonging to another or obtain financial advantage, then you may be charged with this offence. The maximum penalty for being found in possession of such a document is 10 years imprisonment.

 

As with any criminal offence, the prosecution must prove all the elements of the offence beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have a defence available, the prosecution must negate that defence beyond reasonable doubt if the Court is to find you guilty. If you are charged with a cybercrime or fraud offence, please contact KF Lawyers to arrange for a consultation to discuss potential defences and range of sentences that are available in your situation.

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