Deception is an offence contrary to section 139 of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA). It carries a maximum penalty of 10 years for a basic offence, and 15 years for an aggravated offence.
The prosecution must prove three elements:
- The person deceived another;
- The deceiving person or a third person benefited by the deception, or the deceived person or a third person suffered a detriment by the deception;
- The person acted dishonestly in obtaining that benefit or causing the detriment.
The relevant misrepresentation must be identified by the prosecution, including that the representation was false at the time it was made. For example, that a person said that they had provided a service in order to receive payment from another – when instead, at the time that the statement was made, the person making the representation did not believe it to be true that the service had in fact been provided.
Deception typically involves complex factual circumstances and evidentiary material. Therefore, prompt legal advice is usually recommended from the outset. Defences to deception are commonly raised upon a dispute on the evidence and may result in the withdrawal or downgrading of charges.
The seriousness of the offence can vary largely in many factors including the position of power or responsibility of the person in relation to the victim, the monetary value of the benefit or loss (including from thousands to millions of dollars) and the level of sophistication used to plan and carry out the deception. It can involve a once-off transaction or many transactions spanning across a prolonged period.
Our team is very experienced in handling charges of deception – in particular, we are experienced in dealing with matters charged against company directors, business owners and public or private sector employees at all levels. At all times, we will treat your matter with sensitivity and understanding. We are astutely aware that such charges can cause great distress and threaten your personal and business reputation. We will defend your rights while remaining conscious of the impact upon your commercial interests in the long term.
There are also Commonwealth provisions for deception offences under the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), often charged by governmental departments involving taxation, social security and corporate fraud.
Contact us to obtain expert, accurate and timely advice about your matter.