Obtaining property by deception

The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment and/or a $66,000 fine.

What court is likely to hear the matter

This matter is indictable and will be dealt with in the District Court.

If you think you may have breached a law or regulation in your role as an employee or company director, you need to seek urgent advice. Make sure your interests are fully protected. Talk to one of our team of specialist corporate crime lawyers today.

Common ways in which this might occur

  • You fabricate the existence of or aspects of a business in order to become eligible for a grant, subsidy or award from the Commonwealth;
  • You defraud a Commonwealth Agency such as Australia Post, perhaps whilst as an employee of Australia Post or some other Commonwealth Agency.
  • You use a fake identity to obtain social security, Veterans Affairs or other Commonwealth payments;

What the prosecution must prove – the elements of the offence:

  1. That you have obtained property belonging to the Commonwealth;
  2. There is a deception;
  3. The obtaining of the property is dishonest.

Absolute liability applies to whether the property is Commonwealth property or not. This means that it does not matter whether you knew it was Commonwealth property.


It is an offence under the Criminal Code (Commonwealth) to dishonestly obtain Commonwealth property by a deception with the intention of permanently depriving the Commonwealth of it.


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.


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