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Obtain Benefit by Deception (NSW)

One of the most common ‘fraud’ offences in New South Wales is obtaining a benefit by deception. The maximum penalty for obtaining a benefit by deception is five years imprisonment.


Where the value of the property charged exceeds $5000, this matter is a Table 1 offence which means that either the DPP or an accused can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

Where the value of the property charged does not exceed $5000, this matter is a Table 2 offence which means that the DPP can elect to have the matter dealt with in the District Court. If no election is made it will be dealt with in the Local Court.

What must be proven?

The prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • The accused dishonestly obtained (for themself or another person) money, a valuable thing, or a financial advantage.
  • They did so by deception.

It will be necessary for the police in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence.

The legislation

Section 178BA of the Crimes Act states:

  • Whosoever by any deception dishonestly obtains for himself or herself or another person any money or valuable thing or any financial advantage of any kind whatsoever shall be liable to imprisonment for five years.
  • In subsection (1): deception means deception (whether deliberate or reckless) by words or conduct as to fact or as to law, including:

(a) a deception as to the present intentions of the person using the deception or of any other person; and
(b) an act or thing done or omitted to be done with the intention of causing:
(i) a computer system; or
(ii) a machine that is designed to operate by means of payment or identification,

to make a response that the person doing or omitting to do the act or thing is not authorised to cause the computer system or machine to make.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Michelle Makela

This article was written by Michelle Makela

Michelle has over 15 years experience in the legal industry, working across commercial litigation, criminal law, family law and estate planning.  Michelle has been involved in all practice areas of the firm and in her personal practice has had experience in litigation at all levels (State and Federal Industrial Tribunals, the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, Federal...

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