Falsification of books
The maximum penalty for this offence is two years imprisonment and/or an $11,000 fine.
Which Court is Likely to Hear the Matter
This matter is summary and will be dealt with in the Local Court.
Common Ways in Which this Might Occur
You took any of the company’s documents home with you and intentionally didn’t return them or threw them out.
You altered or deleted computer records.
You crossed out signatures or signed a document in someone else’s place or name.
What the Prosecution Must Prove – The Elements of the Offence:
- That you are an officer, employee or member of the company, or you used to be any of these
- That you engaged in specific acts or omissions
- That your 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 you can show that you were not aware of the risk that the documents would be destroyed etc. you will be able to defend the charge. This may be the case where you accidentally deleted or disposed of books of the company.
It is an offence under the 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.