Falsification Of Books
The maximum penalty for falsification of books under the Corporations Act is two years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
Which court will hear the matter?
This matter is a summary offence and will be dealt with in the Magistrates Court.
Common ways this offence occurs
A person may find themself facing this charge in one of the following ways.
- The person took the company’s documents home with them and intentionally didn’t return them or disposed of them;
- The person altered or deleted computer records;
- The person signed a document in someone else’s name.
What must be proven
In order to find a person guilty of this offence, the court must be satisfied of the following matters:
- That the accused if an officer, employee or member of the company, or used to be;
- That they engaged in specific acts or omissions;
- That their conduct resulted in the concealment, destruction, mutilation or falsification of any of the securities of the company or books affecting or relating to the company
A company’s books can include any record of information, no matter how it is stored and any document or register. This is a very broad definition.
It must be shown that you caused the destruction etc. recklessly. This means that you were aware of the risk that your actions could result in the destruction but you nevertheless took that risk.
If the accused can show that they were not aware of the risk that the documents would be destroyed they will be able to defend the charge. This may be the case where a person accidentally deleted or disposed of books of the company. However, the defendant bears the evidential onus of proving they did not have a dishonest intention.
It is an offence under Section 1101Fthe Corporations Act to conceal, destroy or falsify the books of a company.
WHERE TO NEXT?
If you suspect that you may be under investigation, or if you have been charged with an offence, it is vital to get competent legal advice as early as possible. Our lawyers are highly specialised in corporate crime and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.