Obtaining Property by Deception – Over $150,000

The accused was a 38-year old with no prior Court appearances or convictions. At the time of the offending (a 15-month period from July 2008 to September 2009), he had separated from his wife. He had two small children under the age of 10 years and was owed a significant amount of money on his mortgage and on credit cards and store cards.

What is alleged to have occured?
He was charged with a number of charges of obtaining property by deception which arose during the time he was employed by the ANZ bank, in their fraud investigation unit. He committed the offences initially to repay his debt but then moved on to buying extravagant items such as a new car and a $30,000 overseas holiday. His thefts were detected by the bank and his employment was terminated.

Overall, the charges he faced were:

What happened at court?
We represented the client at the Melbourne County Court.

Following negotiations with the prosecution, the 50-odd charges were reduced to two charges that covered, roughly, two 6 month periods – one wherein the accused spent the money to repay his debts, and one wherein the accused spent the stolen money on extravagant items.

The total amount stolen was in excess of $150,000 but the accused had repaid the money in full prior to the Court date.

The accused pleaded guilty to both charges. The breach of an employer’s trust was a significant issue in this matter; however the fact that the accused had fully repaid the money went very much in his favour. A psychological assessment demonstrated that the accused was, at the time of the offending, suffering from serious depression and suicidal ideation as a result of his marriage breakdown and the effect that that had on his financial state. The psychologist was of the opinion that had the accused not been so depressed, he would not have resorted to stealing to repay his debts. The Judge considered that this was a very important factor to the offending, but reiterated that offending of this type usually results in a jail sentence.

What was the result?
The accused was convicted and sentenced to a total sentence of 27 months’ imprisonment. The Judge ordered that 6 months of that sentence was to be immediately served, with the rest suspended for a period of 2 years.
DISCLAIMER: This is a real case study of an actual case from our files. Details pertaining to the client have been changed to protect their privacy. The sentence imposed and the charge have not been altered. These case studies are published to demonstrate real outcomes and give an indication of possible tariffs in Court. We do not guarantee a similar case on these charges will get the same result. Please note that we post results at our discretion, therefore while many case studies are average results, others are notable for their exceptional outcomes. PUBLISHED 25/02/2013