Anastasia Qvist is an outstanding lawyer. My criminal law situation (family violence order) was difficult, complex and Ana's diligence saved me as I was going through the most difficult period of my life. Ana is down to earth, commonsense and she even kept our costs to a minimum. She is a skilled litigator and knows the ins and outs of the ACT Magistrates Court. She dealt skillfully with the DPP and is an excellent negotiator. You will get a fair representation and she genuinely cares about her clients. She has my complete recommendation. The lady goes to bat for her clients.
I would strongly recommend Anastasia to anyone who is seeking legal representation. As a first-time offender who was charged with a Level 2 Drink Driving offence, she walked me through every step of the matter and was very upfront and clear on all aspects of my case. She was always accessible when I needed advice. Her approach and advice were excellent. Under her representation, I received the best possible outcome and managed to avoid a criminal conviction. She was a pleasure to deal with throughout the whole matter.
Anastasia Qvist was very professional and helpful in every step of my matter. I got a very good outcome and I can’t thank you enough for your hard work and the Armstrong Legal team in Canberra. I would highly recommend her!!!
Throughout Angela has been the consummate professional. She maintained a calm, yet strong demeanour remained informative and completely open in her communication and took complete ownership of the situation. We felt confident we finally had an advocate to steer us out of the nightmare we were in, and she did so with great respect and sincerity. I cannot speak more highly of Angela. She has literally rescued our family from what looked very much like a hopeless future.
Words can’t describe how grateful I am to Trudie Cameron being my solicitor and to Andrew Tiedt presenting my case in the court. They both have been very supportive and amazingly professional and effective. I’ve got an absolutely fantastic outcome I couldn’t even dream about.
Soon after meeting Andrew I knew he was the solicitor I wanted to handle my matter. He immediately sprang into action which brought me stability and hope during a tumultuous time in my life. Andrew was never afraid to give me straight answers to my tough questions which is a true mark of integrity. He is clearly at ease in the court environment and I believe his calm and measured demeanour went a long way to helping me secure the best result from my day in court. I would certainly recommend you approach Andrew if you need assistance.
"Andrew Tiedt was very professional and considerate to personal circumstances and gave sound advice that resulted in the best outcome possible. Highly recommended."
Is Catfishing Illegal? (WA)
Catfishing itself is not illegal but elements of the activity could be proscribed by legislation in Western Australia. Catfishing is the act of using a fake online profile to befriend a vulnerable person and scam them into providing money in the promise of love or a relationship. The money is almost impossible to recover and there is often long-lasting psychological damage to victims. Studies have shown those most at risk are usually intelligent, financially comfortable, middle to older-aged adults, who are lonely, isolated and vulnerable to approaches for love or friendship.
The typical stages of catfishing
The “catfish” uses a fictional name or steals the identity of a real, trusted person such as a professional working abroad or a military officer, to set up a fake profile o an online dating website or social media. The person promotes strong emotional attachment with the victim in a short period of time, then suggest contact is moved from a secure website to a more private channel such as instant messaging or email. They then establish an “exclusive” relationship with the victim, with intense and frequent communication, and they often declare love for the victim.
After the catfish has cultivated trust between the parties and created a sense of obligation from the victim, requests for money or banking details from the victim are made. The perpetrator sometimes claims they will visit the victim but can do this only if the victim pays for the travel. Requests for small amounts of money generally switch to large amounts, prompted by a story of tragic or desperate circumstances such as unexpected hospital bills, theft of personal documents, or being stranded overseas.
Offences linked to catfishing
Catfishing can encompass a range of offences across several sections of the Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913. Some of these are outlined below.
The offence of fraud in Western Australia is defined under s 409 of the Act.
The provision states a person is guilty of a crime if they, with intent to defraud, by deceit or any fraudulent means:
- obtain property from a person;
- induce a person to deliver property to another person;
- gain a financial benefit;
- cause a detriment, financial or otherwise;
- induce any person to do something they are lawfully entitled to abstain from doing;
- induce any person to abstain from doing something they are lawfully entitled to do.
Penalties range from 2 years to 10 years imprisonment, plus fines.
The offence of stalking is defined under s 338E of the Act as when a person “pursues another person with intent to intimidate”.
“Pursue” includes to:
- repeatedly communicate with a person whether in words or otherwise;
- repeatedly follow the person;
- repeatedly cause the person to receive unsolicited items;
- watch or visit someone’s home or workplace.
“Intimidate” includes to cause physical or mental harm, apprehension or fear; or to prevent or hinder someone from doing something, or to compel someone to do something they are lawfully entitled to abstain from doing.
Penalties range from 12 months to 8 years imprisonment, plus fines
The offence of money laundering is defined under s 563A of the Act. It states a person who “engages, directly or indirectly, in a transaction that involves, or receives, possesses, conceals, disposes of, or deals with any money or other property that is the proceeds of an offence”, is guilty of a crime. The person is liable to 20 years imprisonment.
Sometimes a catfish will send laptops or mobile phones to a victim with a request for the items to be sent elsewhere. Or they will ask instead for the victim to buy the goods and send them somewhere. Another catfishing tactic is to have the victim accept money into their account and transfer it on the catfish’s behalf. This can sometimes be accompanied with a promise to repay “administrative fees or “taxes” or an offer to share in the profits destined to flow from the transfer.
Those who have accepted or transferred money via catfishing may have unwittingly committed a crime such as money laundering. They may also have placed themselves in danger by unknowingly becoming part of an international criminal network.
A catfish can use fraud to engage in sexual activity. More serious charges apply if the conduct involves children. Under s 204B of the Act, it is an offence to use electronic communication to procure for sexual activity, or expose to indecent matter, a child under 16. The offence carries a penalty of 5 years imprisonment if the child is aged under 16, and 10 years if the child is aged under 13.
The establishment of a fake online profile can carry liability for a range of charges, such as defamation and infringement of intellectual property.
The offence of defamation is covered by s 345 of the Criminal Code Compilation Act 1913. It states a person who, without lawful excuse, publishes defamatory matter about another person, knowing the matter is false, and with the intent to cause serious harm or ignorant to the fact that it will cause serious harm, is guilty of a crime and liable to 3 years imprisonment.
Catfishing can also involve violations of intellectual property laws; for instance, when the catfish uses copyright material, such as a stolen photo. It can also involve using a false document or forgery to set up a fake identity.
If you need help to deal with internet fraud or any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.
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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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