Have you been charged with fraud or a financial crime?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

Have you been charged with fraud or a financial crime?

Get a lawyer who has helped numerous people to succeed in complex and difficult cases across Queensland.

How this firm can help you achieve justice

How this firm can help you achieve justice

Andrew Anderson, Legal Director, is an award-winning lawyer who is independently recommended as being among the leading criminal defence lawyers in Queensland.
Having successfully represented litigants in the High Court of Australia, Queensland Court of Appeal, Royal Commissions and multiple other courts dealing with trials and other hearings, Andrew Anderson understands how to succeed in complex and difficult cases.
Andrew Anderson has worked as a Principal Crown Prosecutor in Queensland and barrister in private practice at 8 Petrie Terrace Chambers in Brisbane. His depth of courtroom advocacy experience ranges from simple cases right through to complex homicide trials and appeals.
Anderson Legal is a law firm that is dedicated to the best ideals of the legal profession. Seeking to exceed client expectations and fighting for justice is an everyday pursuit.

Learn more about fraud & financial crimes

1. Specific fraud & financial crimes

As part of the On-Demand Resources library of this firm, Andrew Anderson has published detailed information about a number of specific fraud and financial crimes. Each article covers the applicable law, possible defences, penalties and sentences, as well as significant cases. Read more here:

Dishonestly Cause a Loss to the Commonwealth

Dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth is an offence under section 135.1(3) of the Criminal Code Act (Cth) and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. It requires the victim of the offence to be a ‘Commonwealth entity’.

The offence of dishonestly causing a loss to the Commonwealth is frequently prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to fraudulent conduct relating to the Commonwealth government agencies, or entities of the Commonwealth. The maximum penalty was raised from 5 years imprisonment to 10 years imprisonment, signalling a determination to harden the punishment for offences of this kind.

Extortion

Extortion is most commonly charged when threats of violence are used to blackmail a person to hand over property. However, other forms of coercion or intimidation can give rise to the offence of extortion in Queensland.

The Criminal Code (Qld) places the offence of extortion within Part 6, which contains the offences relating to property and contracts. Although many people envisage the threats in an extortion charge as relating to violence, the law in Queensland merely requires a ‘threat of detriment’ to be made. This means that the offence may arise from many types of threats where there is an absence of reasonable cause.

Fraud

In Queensland, section 408C of the Criminal Code (Qld) sets out the various ways in which an offence of fraud, including aggravated fraud, may be committed. The essential element for all frauds is that the conduct was ‘dishonest’.

For a all fraud charges proof of ‘dishonesty’ requires the prosecution to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that what a defendant did was dishonest by the standards of ordinary honest people, having regard to the knowledge, intent or belief of the defendant. To secure a conviction, it is unnecessary for the prosecution to prove that the person charged realised that what he or she was doing was dishonest by the standards of ordinary honest people. 

Money Laundering Offences

Money laundering involves concealing, disguising and ultimately attempted legitimising money associated with criminal offences. Money launder is an offence in Queensland under both State and Commonwealth laws.

Section 250 of the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act (Qld) makes money launder a crime under the State law in Queensland. It distinguishes between those who launder money ‘knowingly’ and ‘recklessly’. Money laundering offences are also contained in Commonwealth law, specifically Part 10.2 of the Criminal Code (Cth) as well as in the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (Cth).

Obtaining a Financial Advantage by Deception

The offence of obtain a financial advantage by deception is frequently prosecuted by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to fraudulent conduct relating to the Commonwealth government agencies, or entities of the Commonwealth. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment, with penalties often involving terms of imprisonment, as well as orders for compensation or restitution.

Possession of Tainted Property

In Queensland, it is an offence to receive, possess, dispose of, bring into Queensland, conceal or disguise property that may be reasonably suspected of being tainted property. The offence is commonly referred to as ‘Possess Tainted Property’.

Possessing tainted property is an offence in Queensland, which can be punishable by a term of imprisonment under section 252 of the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act (Qld). A person charged with an offence of possessing tainted property may raise a defence that they had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the property mentioned in the charge was either tainted property or derived from any form of criminal activity.

Proceeds of Crime

While proceeds of crime laws are often used in relation to drug offences, their reach under the Criminal Proceeds Confiscation Act 2002 (Qld) and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth) covers all types of serious criminal offences.

Proceeds of crime offences exist to make it unlawful to receive or possess property that is tainted by crime. It can be a defence to a proceeds of crime charge if the defendant satisfies the court that they had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the property in the charge was either tainted property or derived from any form of unlawful activity. If you face a proceeds of crime charge, contact Anderson Legal for expert advice and representation.

2. Common issues with fraud and financial crimes

If you are facing an allegation relating to a fraud offence, getting informed about the common issues that arise with fraud and financial crimes might be crucial to avoiding injustice.

Below is a list of common issues that people confront when defending fraud or financial crimes in Queensland. While the information about each issue has been created to help people seeking to learn more about common issues relating to fraud charges, it cannot – and is not meant to – substitute legal consultation. To get tailored advice about an issue that may be raised in a specific case, contact Anderson Legal.

Centrelink fraud (sometimes referred to as ‘Welfare Fraud’ or ‘Social Security Fraud’) is regarded as a serious criminal offence in Australia, which is punishable by actual imprisonment. There are a number of different charges that may apply under the Criminal Code (Cth) for cases of this kind. Centrelink fraud offences have seen a number of significant legal decisions over time, including in the High Court of Australia.

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Comcare Fraud – Australia

The Criminal Code (Cth) contains a number of offences that may apply in cases of Comcare fraud. While there is substantial overlap for some of these charges, there can also be important differences amongst each offence.

Comcare fraud refers to dishonesty offences committed in relation to workers’ compensation under Comcare. Offences may be committed by recipients, service providers, contractors or employees who engage in fraudulent or corrupt conduct. Comcare fraud cases are treated seriously by courts across Australia, as the offences undermine the integrity of the national workers’ compensation authority, which relies on truthful and frank dealings.

False Fraud Accusations

Being falsely accused of a fraud offence is often made more difficult by significant volumes of documents and records, which can slow down the path of justice. Getting help from the right experts can be critical to the outcome.

In Queensland, the way the word ‘dishonesty’ is interpreted by courts has changed in important ways in recent years, making it harder for people accused of fraud offences and other financial crimes. Additionally, penalties have increased for aggravated frauds. For anybody wrongly or falsely accused of fraudulent conduct, ensuring early and authoritative advice has never been more important.

Medicare Fraud – Australia

Medicare fraud is a serious allegation to face. Australian doctors accused of Medicare fraud also risk disciplinary action by the Office of the Health Ombudsman and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Medicare fraud is regarded as a serious criminal offence in Australia, which can be punishable by actual imprisonment. It is an offence that may be committed by health providers and service providers, as well as staff within government. There are a number of different charges that may apply under the Criminal Code (Cth) for cases of this kind. If you face an investigation relating to Medicare fraud, contact Anderson Legal for advice and guidance.

Tax Fraud – Australia

False work-related expenses constitute a significant number of criminal cases pursued by the Australian Taxation Office. Serious examples of tax frauds often involve false claims relating to GST and other business expenses that are raised as part of a dishonest course of conduct or scheme. Punishment for tax fraud in Australia ranges from good behaviour bonds and fines to lengthy terms of actual imprisonment.

Workcover Fraud – Queensland

In Queensland, suspected frauds relating to workers’ compensation are investigated and prosecuted by the Workers’ Compensation Regulator. Offences generally relate to a worker or claimant, employer, or a service provider.

The Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act (Qld) has a range of offences, some of which may result only in fines whereas others carry possible terms of imprisonment. Offences involving fraud under section 533 of the Workers’ Compensation and Rehabilitation Act (Qld) carries a maximum penalty of 500 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment. If you face an investigation relating to Workcover fraud, contact Anderson Legal for advice and representation.

3. Possible consequences if charged or convicted

For anybody charged or convicted of a fraud offence or financial crime, there can be consequences beyond what occurs within the criminal justice system. For many people, the potentially far-reaching effects from a charge or conviction for ‘dishonesty offences’ can come as a shock, which underscores why early advice from an experienced lawyer can be crucial to the outcomes that eventuate.

Adverse Publicity

For many people accused of a criminal offence, inaccurate or sensationalist reporting of the allegations is deeply troubling. Steps can be taken to mitigate the prejudice that can arise from adverse publicity to ensure a fair hearing.

While many journalists seek to adhere to high standards when reporting on criminal allegations, it can be important for anybody accused or convicted of a criminal offence to understand their legal options if their case is unfairly or improperly jeopardised by adverse publicity. Adverse media publicity can prejudice the fairness of a criminal trial, so it is important that people facing criminal allegations understand their rights when dealing with adverse publicity.

Character, Safety & Security Clearances

There are many occupations, jobs or roles that require character, safety and security clearances. A criminal history, and, in some instances, mere criminal allegations, can adversely affect assessments for character, safety and security clearances.

In Queensland, certain occupations are regulated by professional or trade bodies that can take disciplinary action following a criminal allegation or conviction arising. It is important to understand how a criminal law issue may affect other areas of life, such as employment prospects, recreational activities, insurance claims and other issues. This firm provides advice to its clients about the possible steps that can be taken to mitigate issues of this kind.

Character Tests – Citizenship / Visa Issues

The Australian Citizenship Act (Cth) and Migration Act (Cth) both contain character tests that can affect the eligibility for a person to become or remain a citizen or visa holder in Australia. Having a criminal history can be a decisive factor.

For citizens of another country who seek citizenship in Australia, a good character test can apply to the assessment of a citizenship application. Outstanding or finalised criminal charges (and even allegations falling short of criminal charges) can impact the assessment of the ‘good character’ test. The Migration Act (Cth) sets out the way a criminal history can lead to the refusal or cancellation of visas.

Employment Issues

Many people do not realise that employers can take action – such as suspension or dismissal – against an employee accused of a criminal offence. In some cases, such disciplinary action may be taken even if the conduct occurred outside of work.

Being accused of a criminal offence of itself is confronting enough for most people, however losing your career and livelihood even before the offence is proved can create additional burdens. Anderson Legal has the expertise to guide its clients through the employment law issues that can arise from criminal allegations, including what steps may be taken to ensure employment is not unnecessarily ended by an employer.

Recording of Convictions

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a discretion to not record a conviction, despite the person being found guilty or having pleaded guilty to an offence. The recording of a conviction can have significant consequences.

Section 12 of the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) gives the court a general discretion to record or not record a conviction. Courts are required to take account of all relevant circumstances, such as the nature of the offence, the offender’s character and age, as well as the impact the recording of a conviction will have on them. For some sentences, such as those involving imprisonment or a breach of court orders, a court may be required to record a conviction.

Sentencing for Fraud Offences

In Queensland, the Penalties and Sentences Act (Qld) and sentencing law more generally contains important principles relating to frauds, including with respect to issues of compensation and restitution.

The principles that imprisonment should be imposed as a last resort and that it is preferable if a sentence can appropriately keep a person in the community both apply generally to fraud offences. The variable nature of cases and motivations behind the offences means that all penalties must reflect the individual circumstances of each case. Understanding the issues that influence sentencing is critical for anybody seeking a just outcome in their own case.

Do you need personalised legal advice or representation about fraud or a financial crime?

If you are facing allegations involving ‘dishonesty offences’, obtaining early and authoritative advice is essential to protecting your rights and legal interests. Andrew Anderson has demonstrated experience in successfully preparing and conducting trials, sentences and appeals for dishonesty offences before all courts in Queensland.

If you need to contact Anderson Legal, you can call the firm on (07) 3505 7070. Alternatively, you can complete our form and we will try to contact you.

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