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Fraud, Theft & Dishonesty Offences

Crimes involving dishonesty, fraud and theft can often be very serious and complex, frequently crossing over into other areas of law. It is important to engage an experience Criminal Lawyer to assist you to pursue the most appropriate outcome.


We are well experienced in preparing evidence and coordinating strategic forensic approaches, as appropriate. Our Lawyers are well practiced in all dishonesty-related cases and have appeared before the Magistrates’, County, and Supreme Courts for the following matters:

  • Burglary;
  • Aggravated burglary;
  • Embezzlement;
  • Fraud;
  • Obtaining financial advantage by deception;
  • Obtaining property by deception;
  • False accounting;
  • Proceeds of crime;
  • Money laundering;
  • Robbery; and
  • Theft.


In the Victoria, the term fraud refers to different charges including obtaining property by deception, obtaining financial advantage by deception, making and/or using a false document, and blackmail.


Fraud charges typically include an allegation of dishonest conduct such as;

  • Centrelink fraud;
  • fraudulently inducing a person to invest money;
  • false accounting theft;
  • falsification of documents;
  • obtaining property by deception;
  • money laundering;
  • forgery;
  • bribery; or
  • defrauding the Commonwealth Government.

Theft & Dishonesty Offences

In such offences, the accused person must be shown to have been acting dishonestly at the time of appropriation. A person is not taken to have acted dishonestly if they held an honest belief that:

  • They were legally entitled to the property;
  • They would have had the owner’s consent; or
  • The owner could not be discovered by taking reasonable steps.


Dishonesty offences are typically punishable by a term of imprisonment. The seriousness of an offence depends on a number of factors which include:

  • The value of the items or money involved;
  • The accused’s role in the alleged offences;
  • Whether any breach of trust is involved; and
  • Whether the offence took place over a lengthy time frame.


The most common dishonesty offence in Victoria is theft. Theft is an indictable offence which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment, however, it can be heard summarily in the Magistrates’ Court, which can impose a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment.


The criminal offence of theft occurs when a person dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention to permanently deprive that person of their property.


There are many different types of theft charges. In Victoria, the type of charge may be influenced by (amongst other factors) the amount stolen. For small theft matters, diversion or a without conviction good behaviour bond are possible penalties. In contrast, larger thefts which usually involve large sums of cash or a high value item(s), could result in an immediate custodial sentence.


Regardless of the punishment imposed by the Court, whether significant or not, the repercussions of having a conviction of this nature can outweigh the punishment from a Court, including in relation to employability as most employers typically require some form of character reference, or criminal check before offering a job to an individual.


If you have been charged, interviewed by police, or if you are a suspect in a fraud, dishonesty, or theft offence, contact us today for an obligation free confidential discussion. Call us now on (03) 8376 6209 to speak with one of our Criminal Lawyers today.

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