Criminal Fraud vs Civil Fraud in Queensland

Criminal Fraud vs Civil Fraud in Queensland

Fraud is the most widely used term in corporate criminal offences and most crimes aiming at a financial benefit. In Queensland, fraud offences are described as anything unethical, dishonest, or deceptive aimed at financial gains.  

It could be corruption by a state officer, a private citizen, or embezzlement of funds by employees. This means fraud covers a broad spectrum of criminal offences activities in which a person tries to take advantage of a situation to benefit financially. 

There are two main types of fraud in QLD – fraud and civil fraud. This guide looks at what differentiates the two types of frauds, penalties and the best defence tips for fraud offences. 

Criminal Fraud 

Criminal fraud is a financial crime that’s investigated and prosecuted by the Director of Public Prosecution. They form the biggest part of the fraud cases and are fully funded by the government. From correction of evidence to processing the charges, this process is done through the collaboration between government bodies, including police and other investigative bodies. 

A good example is a company operating or planning to start a Ponzi scheme, which gets the regulatory bodies concerned. The body brings these concerns to the attention of the police, who then initiates investigations. Once it’s established the company is running a Ponzi scheme, all the responsible parties are arrested and charged by the prosecutor. The prosecutor can also pursue inchoate criminal fraud offences. 

Civil Fraud 

judge gavel and money on a wooden table

In contrast to criminal frauds, a civil fraud case is initiated by a private citizen or organisation that is defrauded. The complainant has the duty to prove that the defendant knowingly committed fraudulent behaviour for the charges to be successful. If you are the complainant, you must also prove beyond reasonable doubt that you suffered damages because of the manipulation by the offender.  

The damage caused by the offence does not have to be financial. Even psychological and personal damages can also count. According to Queensland civil fraud law, if the defendant is guilty, they must compensate the victim, including the cost of the case. 

Penalties For Fraud Charges 

Fraud penalties differ with the severity of the damages to the victim. The penalties range from court-ordered fines, compensation of the victim, and imprisonment. In Queensland, you could be jailed for 5 years for criminal fraud. But jail term can increase up to 14 years for corporate directors and employees. The financial gain from the fraud also determines the length of the jail term. For example, if the financial gain is more than $100,000, the penalty can be up to 20 years in jail. 

Fraud Charges Defence 

In some cases, offenders have had charges dropped or penalties reduced, and even been considered not guilty of the offence by putting up a good defence. The most successful defences used by criminal lawyers in the court include: 

  • Working under duress 
  • Prove it was an honest mistake 
  • Lack capacity to execute the fraud – especially corporate frauds 
  • Claim of right to property they are charged with by proving lawful ownership.  

If you are in need of legal advice and services, contact our team at Bouchier Khan Lawyers today. 

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