Have you been charged with Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception by Defrauding Centrelink?
Centrelink Fraud is a serious offence and can carry large penalties including imprisonment if you are found guilty. There are some questions you should ask regarding this charge.
Can the prosecution make out their case? Did you engage in conduct that was deliberately deceptive toward Centrelink? Did you obtain a financial advantage for yourself or for another? Did you induce Centrelink to award you benefits you were not entitled to?
Common types of Centrelink fraud include making claims for benefits you are not entitled to receive, making false statements, forging pay slips, bank statements and other false documents.
The time period and amount of money obtained can affect the severity of the charge. The longer you have been defrauding Centrelink the higher the penalty could be.
Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception, especially by defrauding a Commonwealth entity such as Centrelink, can mean significant consequences.
The Courts view this as a serious offence as it is often likened to stealing from the public purse, from funds intended for those who need them most. You could face the stigma of a criminal record if convicted, making it difficult to find employment in the future, as well as limit travel options and loan approvals.
Please read below for more information in relation to this charge.
Section 134.2 of the Criminal Code Act (Cth) 1995.
The prosecution must prove:
The defendant engaged in conduct;
That conduct was dishonest ;
As a result of that conduct, the defendant obtained a financial advantage for himself or herself, or another person;
The person knew or believed they were ineligible to receive that financial advantage; and
That the defrauded party was Centrelink.
The maximum penalty
Up to 10 years imprisonment. You may also face the penalty of repaying the debt, a fine up to $10,200 for a minor offence and up to $102,000 for a major offence.
Where will my case be heard?
Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception against a Commonwealth entity such as Centrelink falls under the Commonwealth jurisdiction. Your case may be heard in the Magistrates’ Court or the County Court depending on the total amount being alleged to have been taken.
What to do next?
Centrelink may seek to pursue an investigation into your past and present claims. You will often be asked to sit a voluntary video interview. It is advisable that you seek legal representation before you attend such an interview.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions may then issue you with the charge of Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception, in which case you may be taken to court.
Contact us today, and let one of our experienced criminal lawyers help you challenge the charges against you as effectively as possible.
Section 134.2 Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person, by a deception, dishonestly obtains a financial advantage from another person; and
(b) the other person is a Commonwealth entity.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.
(2) Absolute liability applies to the paragraph (1)(b) element of the offence.