This article provides an overview of the offence of obtaining financial advantage by deception in Victoria, the process of laying charges, the court process, the types of penalties that may be imposed, and the consequences of being found guilty.
Obtaining financial advantage by deception is a serious criminal offence in Victoria, falling under the category of fraud offences. This offence involves using deception to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage from another person or entity.
Obtaining Financial Advantage by Deception Offence
Under Section 82 of the Crimes Act 1958 (Vic), a person is guilty of obtaining financial advantage by deception if they, by any deception, dishonestly obtain for themselves or another person a financial advantage. The term ‘deception’ is defined as any words or conduct that cause a person to accept as true what is false or to accept as false what is true.
How Charges are Laid
Charges for obtaining financial advantage by deception are typically laid by the police. The police will investigate the incident, gather 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. This charge sheet will outline the details of the offence and specify the date on which the accused is required to appear in court.
The court process for obtaining financial advantage by deception offences in Victoria involves several stages:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sentencing: If the accused is found guilty, the court will impose a sentence, which may include imprisonment, a fine, or other penalties.
The maximum penalty for obtaining financial advantage by deception in Victoria is 10 years imprisonment. However, the actual penalty imposed will depend on various factors, including the value of the financial advantage obtained, the circumstances surrounding the offence, and the offender’s criminal history.
Consequences of Being Found Guilty
Being found guilty of obtaining financial advantage by deception can have serious consequences beyond the immediate penalties imposed by the court. These may include:
- Criminal Record: A conviction for obtaining financial advantage by deception will result in a permanent criminal record, which can affect your ability to obtain employment, travel overseas, and apply for certain licenses or registrations.
- Impact on Relationships: A conviction for obtaining financial advantage by deception can have a significant impact on your relationships with family and friends.
- Financial Consequences: A conviction for obtaining financial advantage by deception may result in significant financial consequences, including the payment of fines, compensation to the victim, and legal costs.
- 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.
Obtaining financial advantage by deception is a serious offence in Victoria, carrying significant penalties and consequences for those found guilty. It involves using deception to dishonestly obtain a financial advantage from another person or entity. The court process can be complex and lengthy, and if you are charged with an obtaining financial advantage by deception offence, it is highly recommended to seek legal advice from a qualified professional to understand your rights and options.