A 46-year-old man from Sydney allegedly impersonated a bank employee to scam two elderly women of a sum amounting to nearly $20,000. It was alleged that the man had called the two elderly women and informed them that their bank accounts had been hacked, went to their homes in Sydney and took the cash from them.
A woman, 80 years old from Revesby, was reported to have been defrauded in October last year, whereas another woman, 74 years old from Strathfield, was reported to have been defrauded last month.
The NSW Police has arrested the man and has charged him with two counts of dishonestly obtaining property by deception and two counts of recklessly dealing with proceeds of crime (greater than $5,000).
So, what are the criminal offences the man has been charged with?
Under s192E of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), a person is guilty of this offence if
(1) by any deception, a person dishonestly
(a) obtains property belonging to another, or
(b) obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage.
(2) A person’s obtaining of property belonging to another may be dishonest even if the person is willing to pay for the property.
(3) A person may be convicted of the offence of fraud involving all or any part of a general deficiency in money or other property even though the deficiency is made up of any number of particular sums of money or items of other property that were obtained over a period of time.
A person convicted of this offence may be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years.
To establish this offence, the prosecution must prove that by deception, the man had acted dishonestly and that his action of posing as an employee of a financial institution was intentional or reckless. His actions of calling the two elderly women to advise them that their accounts had been hacked, obtaining their personal information, attending their homes and taking the cash would more than likely establish that the man’s actions were intentional.
Under s4B(1) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), conduct that amounts to ‘dishonesty’ is determined by the trier of fact (whether the magistrate in the Local Court or the jury or judge sitting alone in a higher court) and is in accordance with the standards of ordinary people and known by the defendant to be dishonest according to the standards of ordinary people.
S192B(1) of the Act defines ‘deception’ as any intentional or reckless deception, by words or other conduct, as to fact or as to law including:
(a) A deception as to the intentions of the person using the deception or any other person; or
(b) Conduct by a person that causes a computer, a machine or any electronic device to make a response that the person is not authorised to cause it to make.
The main issue here is whether the court can establish that the man’s actions created a financial advantage over another person’s property or caused them to suffer a financial disadvantage. It is likely that as both elderly women lost nearly $20,000, it would likely amount to fraud.
Under s193B(3) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), a person is guilty of this offence if they deal with proceeds of crime, being reckless as to whether the proceeds were derived from crime. A person convicted of this offence may be liable to imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years.
However, the maximum penalty increases to 15 years where the person deals with the proceeds of crime, knowing the proceeds were derived from crime.
It increases to 20 years where the person dealt with proceeds of crime, knowing the proceeds were derived from crime and intended to conceal that the proceeds were from crime.
If you or anyone you know has been charged with this type of offence, you should immediately seek Legal Advice. Our experienced Criminal Defence Lawyers at KPT Defence Lawyers have significant and specialised experience in all areas of criminal law.
*Disclaimer: This is intended as general information only and not to be construed as legal advice. The above information is subject to changes over time. You should always seek professional advice before taking any course of action*.