Obtaining Property by Deception (Vic)
In Victoria, it is an offence to dishonestly obtain property by deception. This offence is punishable by a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. Charges for this offence are generally laid in situations where a person dishonestly engages in a deception that results in that person obtaining ownership or control of property belonging to another person. This offence may also be referred to as fraud.
The Offence of Obtaining Property by Deception
The offence of obtaining property by deception is contained in Section 81 of the Crimes Act 1958, which states that a person who by any deception dishonestly obtains property belonging to another, with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it, is guilty of an indictable offence.
What Actons Might Constitute ‘Obtaining Property by Deception’?
A person may be charged with this offence based on allegations that they:
- Did some types of insurance fraud;
- Dishonestly changed price labels for goods at a shop and purchased them at the lower price;
- Forged receipts for goods that you have not paid for;
- Engaged in Ponzi schemes.
What the Police Must Prove
To convict a person of obtaining property by deception, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:
- They obtained property belonging to another;
- They did so with the intention of permanently depriving that person of the property;
- They used deceit to obtain the property; and
- They obtained the property dishonestly.
Intention to Permanently Deprive
The court will look at the accused’s state of mind at the time they obtained the property. This element can be satisfied even if they later decide to return the property.
To satisfy the element of deception, it is enough for the Prosecution to prove that the accused was reckless as to whether the representation they made was true or false.
The prosecution must also prove that you intended to obtain the property by making the representation and that they obtained the property as a result of the deception.
Dishonesty has a special meaning in relation to this offence. It means that you must have acted without a belief in the legal right to obtain the property. While the belief does not have to be reasonable, a moral belief in the right to obtain the property is not sufficient.
Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?
Obtaining a financial advantage is an indictable offence that can be heard in the Magistrates’ Court if the property alleged to have been obtained does not exceed $100,000.
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