What the law says
Sections 29D of the Commonwealth Crimes Act states:
Defrauding the Commonwealth can be committed where
(a) fraudulent conduct causes injury or loss to the Commonwealth; or
(b) fraudulent conduct causes an imperilment to the Commonwealth’s economic interest (whether or not the offender intends or desires that actual loss be suffered
Defraud means the intentional creation of a situation where one person deprives another of money or property at risk or prejudicially affects that person in relation to some lawful right, interest, opportunity or advantage knowing that the offender has no right to deprive that other person of that money or property or to prejudice his or her interests.
Defrauding the Commonwealth is committed where there are dishonest attempts to avoid by under stating income or to avoid duty chargeable on goods.
What the police must prove
In order for the Prosecution to prove their case at Court, they must prove each of the following matters beyond a reasonable doubt.
1. The fraudulent conducted caused injury or loss to the Commonwealth; or
2. The fraudulent conduct caused an imperilment to the Commonwealth’s economic interest.
It will be necessary for the Prosecution in every offence to prove that the accused was the person who committed the offence. Click here to learn more about identification evidence.
The Maximum penalty for the offence of Social Security Fraud is life
For fraud on the Social Security system, unless there exists any special circumstances, a custodial sentence should be imposed.
Which court will hear the matter
This matter may be indictable which means it is dealt with in the District Court or it may at the election of the Commonwealth Prosecutor be dealt with by the Magistrates Court.
Possible defences to this offence include but are not limited to
- The accused’s conduct did not cause injury or loss to the Commonwealth.
- The accused’s conduct did not cause an imperilment to the Commonwealth’s economic interest.
- The accused’s actions were not intended to create a situation where he deprived another of money or property or put that money or property at risk or prejudicially affect that person in relation to some lawful right, interest, opportunity or advantage.
- Identification i.e. not the accused