Sentencing in fraud cases
Research Monograph 37 (September 2012)
Parliament has changed the sentencing landscape for fraud offences by the enactment of the Crimes Amendment (Fraud, Identity and Forgery Offences) Act 2009. The increase in maximum penalties evinces a clear intention by Parliament that the courts are to treat these crimes as serious and that harsher sentences are to be imposed. This study:
- examines the reasons for the reforms
- sets out the legislative framework for fraud, forgery and identity offences in NSW
- makes comparisons with Commonwealth and interstate provisions in light of the objective of national consistency
- concludes with a discussion of the applicable sentencing principles in such cases.
The fraud, forgery and identity offences in NSW are to be prosecuted summarily unless an election is made to proceed on indictment. Early indications that lower numbers of offenders are being sentenced in the District Court than in the Local Court seem to confirm that the bulk of these offences will be dealt with summarily, but may also reflect that major frauds often take considerable time to detect and then prosecute.