Fraud and Dishonesty Offences

If you are charged with fraud or dishonesty offences, you need an experienced criminal defence lawyer by your side who can provide you with comprehensive advice about your options, and deliver exceptional results.

Penalties for fraud, stealing and other dishonesty offences can include good behaviour bonds, fines, probation, community service and even imprisonment.  For that reason, it is important to engage experienced criminal lawyers to assist you at an early stage. 

Coates Davey Solicitors represent all persons charged with fraud and dishonesty offences including, fraud, fraud as an employee, attempted fraud, taxation fraud, Centrelink fraud, insurance fraud, stealing and unauthorised dealing with shop goods.

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Under section 408C of the Criminal Code Act, a person who dishonestly:

  • Applies to his or her own use or to the use of any person—
    1. property belonging to another; or
    2. property belonging to the person, or which is in the person’s possession, either solely or jointly with another person, subject to a trust, direction or condition or on account of any other person; or
  • Obtains property from any person; or
  • Induces any person to deliver property to any person; or
  • Gains a benefit or advantage, pecuniary or otherwise, for any person; or
  • Causes a detriment, pecuniary or otherwise, to any person; or
  • Induces any person to do any act which the person is lawfully entitled to abstain from doing; or
  • Induces any person to abstain from doing any act which that person is lawfully entitled to do; or
  • Makes off, knowing that payment on the spot is required or expected for any property lawfully supplied or returned or for any service lawfully provided, without having paid and with intent to avoid payment;

commits the crime of fraud.

The maximum penalty for the crime of fraud is 5 years imprisonment, however this increases to 14 years imprisonment if:


  • The offender is an employee or employer of the victim;
  • The offender is a director of the victim corporation;
  • The value of the detriment caused is over $30,000; or
  • The property came into the possession of the offender by way of a trust, discretion or condition. 


Penalties for the offence of fraud depend entirely on a number of circumstances, including the value of the money or property that has been dishonestly taken, whether any (and if so, how much) of the money has been repaid, or whether the property has been recovered, and the offender’s background circumstances.


Under section 391 of the Criminal Code Act, any person who fraudulently takes anything capable of being stolen, or fraudulently converts to the person’s own use or to the use of any other person, anything capable of being stolen, is said to steal that thing.

“Fraudulently” generally means that the accused person had the intent to:

  • Permanently deprive the owner of the thing;
  • Use the thing as a pledge or security;
  • Part with it on a condition as to its return which the person taking it may be unable to perform;
  • Deal with it in such a manner that it cannot be returned in the same condition it was upon the person taking it;
  • In the case of money, use it at the will of the person who takes it, although the person taking it may intend to repay it at a later date.

Things that are capable of being stolen include money, amongst any other property such as animals, plants, intellectual property, and other property that is able to be moved, or is capable of being moved. 

In a stealing case, the prosecution must prove that:

  • The property is a thing capable of being stolen:
  • There was a taking of or dealing with that thing without the consent of the owner;
  • There was an intent to permanently deprive the owner of that thing.

The offence of stealing carries a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment, however there are a number of special circumstances which aggravate the charge, leaving the offender liable to a higher maximum penalty.  These circumstances include, stealing as an employee, stealing property valued at more than $5,000, stealing as a government employee, stealing wills, stealing livestock and stealing vehicles. 

Unauthorised dealing with shop goods

This charge, also known as shoplifting, is a lesser charge to stealing.  It can apply when the goods that have dishonestly been taken are valued at $150 or less. 

Our solicitors have had success for their clients in negotiating with police to have the more serious charge of stealing, downgraded to unauthorised dealing with shop goods.  This offence carries a maximum penalty of 6 penalty units (a fine of up to approximately $830).

Why Coates Davey Solicitors?

When facing a charge of fraud, or any other dishonesty offence, no matter how simple or complex it may seem, you need to ensure your rights are protected. The criminal defence solicitors at Coates Davey Solicitors can provide you with comprehensive advice about your charges, your options, potential negotiations or defences, and routes of resolution. 

In complex fraud matters, you need a lawyer you can trust who can scrutinise the evidence, which is often a large volume of forensic material, and ensure that each option available to you is explored. 

Our solicitors will provide you with efficient and effective advice that will serve you and your interests as best as possible.

Telephone us on 07 3180 0180 today for a complimentary consultation to discuss your case and your specific needs.