Fraudulent Appropriation in Victoria

This article will provide an overview of fraudulent appropriation offences in Victoria, the process of laying charges and the court process

Fraudulent appropriation is a criminal offence in Victoria that involves the dishonest use or appropriation of property or money to temporarily deprive the owner of its possession.

Fraudulent Appropriation Offences

The offence of fraudulent appropriation in Victoria is set out in section 81 of the Crimes Act 1958 (VIC). It involves dishonestly appropriating property belonging to another to temporarily deprive the other of it. The offence does not require the intention to permanently deprive the owner of the property, as is the case with theft.

How Charges Are Laid for fraudulent appropriation offences

Charges for fraudulent appropriation offences are typically laid by the police. The police will investigate the incident, collect evidence, and interview the accused and any witnesses. If there is sufficient evidence to support the elements of the offence, the police will lay charges and issue a charge sheet to the accused, detailing the offence and specifying the court appearance date.

Court Process for Fraudulent Appropriation

The court process for fraudulent appropriation offences in Victoria involves several stages:

  1. First Appearance: The accused will attend court for the first time, where the charges will be explained, and the accused will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.
  2. Committal Hearing: If the accused pleads not guilty, a committal hearing may be held in the Magistrates’ Court to determine whether there is enough evidence to support a trial.
  3. Trial: If the case proceeds to trial, it will typically be heard in the County Court or the Supreme Court of Victoria. The prosecution and defence will present their evidence, and a jury will determine whether the accused is guilty or not guilty.
  4. Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence, which may include imprisonment, a fine, or other penalties.

Penalties for Fraudulent Appropriation in Victoria 

The maximum penalty for fraudulent appropriation in Victoria is 7 years imprisonment. However, the actual penalty imposed will depend on various factors, including the value of the property appropriated, the circumstances surrounding the offence, and the offender’s criminal history.

Consequences of Being Found Guilty of fraudulent appropriation

Being found guilty of fraudulent appropriation can have severe consequences beyond the immediate penalties imposed by the court. These may include:

  1. Criminal Record: A conviction for fraudulent appropriation will result in a permanent criminal record, affecting your ability to obtain employment, travel overseas, and apply for certain licenses or registrations.
  2. Impact on Relationships: A conviction can significantly impact your relationships with family and friends.
  3. Financial Consequences: A conviction may result in substantial financial consequences, including payment of fines, compensation to the victim, and legal costs.
  4. Loss of Freedom: A sentence of imprisonment will result in a loss of freedom and may have a significant impact on your personal and professional life.


Fraudulent appropriation is a serious offence in Victoria, carrying significant penalties and consequences for those found guilty. It involves the dishonest use or appropriation of property or money to temporarily deprive the owner of its possession. The court process can be complex and lengthy, and if you are charged with a fraudulent appropriation offence, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a qualified professional to understand your rights and options.