Obtaining Property by Deception

In Victoria, it is an offence to dishonestly obtain property by deception, 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: 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’?

  • Some types of insurance fraud;
  • Dishonestly changing price labels for goods at a shop and purchasing them at the lower price;
  • Forging receipts for goods that you have not paid for;
  • Ponzi schemes.

What the Police Must Prove

To convict you of Obtaining Property by Deception, the prosecution must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • You obtained property belonging to another;
  • You did so with the intention of permanently depriving that person of the property;
  • You used deceit to obtain the property; and
  • You obtained the property dishonestly.

Intention to Permanently Deprive

To satisfy this element, the Court will look at your state of mind at the time you obtained the property. This element can be satisfied even if you later decide to return the property.


To satisfy the element of deception, it is enough for the Prosecution to prove that you were reckless as to whether the representation you made was true or false.

The Prosecution must also prove that you intended to obtain the property by making the representation and that you 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.

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


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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