This article was written by Andrew Fraser - Senior Associate - Canberra

Andrew works in the areas of criminal law and traffic law, providing practical advice in all of his clients’ matters. Andrew has, over many years, developed positive working relationships with prosecutors, magistrates and judges. His no-nonsense approach means he has a reputation for putting forward the best case possible for clients. Andrew has won many matters for his clients, including...

Fraud - Making or Possessing Device for Making False Document


In the ACT it is an offence to make or possess a device that can be used for making a false document with the intention of obtaining a financial gain. The maximum penalty for this offence is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of 1000 penalty units.

What is Making or Possessing a Device for Making a False Document?

Making or possessing a device that has been adapted to make false documents is an offence under Section 349.1 of the Criminal Code Act 2002. The Act states that it is an offence to make or possess such a device with the intention to use it to make false documents or for someone else to use it to make false documents.

A person can be charged with this offence even if the device was designed or adapted to do something else as well.

What Actions Might Constitute the Offence?

The following situations would constitute an offence under this section:

  • possessing a card printing machine that has been adapted so that it also prints false identification documents;
  • possessing a computer that has had software installed on it that can be used to create false qualifications;
  • possessing a device that you intend your friend to use to create false documents.

What Must be Proven

The following elements must be proven in order for the court to find a person guilty of this offence:

  • that they made, modified or possessed a device, material or other thing knowing it could make false documents;
  • that they did so with the intention that they or another person would use the device, material or thing to falsify a document.

Defences

A person charged with this offence can advance the following defences:

  • that they did not do the acts alleged (factual defence);
  • that they did the acts alleged but had a reasonable excuse;
  • that they acted under duress.

What Court Will Hear the Matter?

The matter may be heard summarily (in the Magistrates Court) or on indictment (in a higher court). If the matter is heard in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty that can imposed for a single offence is two years imprisonment. If the matter is finalised in the Supreme Court the maximum penalty of ten years imprisonment can be imposed.

Relevant Cases

In the case of Chen v R [2015] NSWCCA 227, the Local Court dealt with what it described as a “sophisticated identification manufacturing operation”. Police found equipment including card printing machines, blank non-embossed cards and a magnetic card reader/encoder. The offender was sentenced to six years imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.

The case of R v Bin Li and Kun Wang [2013] NSWDC 211 dealt with an individual who possessed equipment that could be used for manufacturing credit cards, drivers’ licences and other identification material. Li was sentenced to seven years and six months imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years and seven months. Wang was sentenced to two years and three months imprisonment with a non-parole period of one year and two months.

Penalties

The maximum penalty for this offence is a fine of 1000 penalty units and/or 10 years imprisonment. Other penalties a court may impose include:

If you require legal advice about fraud or any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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 criminal law and will be able to guide you through the process while dealing with the various authorities related to your matter.

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