False accounting

The offence of False Accounting is found in section 83 of the Crimes Act 1958 in Victoria. It is a criminal offence that is committed by a person who dishonestly destroys, defaces, conceals, or falsifies any account, record, or document that was made or required for accounting purposes.

Have you been accused of False Accounting? Our expert defence lawyers can assist you navigate the investigation and Court process. You should make time to have a confidential discussion with one of our experienced lawyers before you speak with investigators.


The purpose of any interview is for the investigator to obtain information from you which will help them prove the charge against you. An interview is not the forum where you explain your side of the story. It is important that you speak with one of our lawyers before attending an interview so that you know what to expect. We can advise you of the questions you may be asked and what you are required to answer and what you are not obliged to answer.

This advice could be the difference between an acquittal and having to negotiate a resolution of charges with prosecutors at Court.

Pleading Not Guilty

If you decide to plead not guilty to an allegation of False Accounting, one of our lawyers can represent you in Court. Our lawyers are pro-active and will develop a defence strategy for you from the outset. Our lawyers are experienced in representing people accused of crimes that are disputed. Our lawyers will carefully take your instructions, explore gathering evidence which the investigators may have missed and request disclosure material which may highlight faults in the prosecution case.

Pleading Guilty

Before you decide to plead guilty to a charge of False Accounting it is worth your while to get an advice from one of our lawyers. Our lawyers will review the prosecution brief to determine if they have enough evidence to prove the charge. If they do, our lawyers will negotiate the summary with prosecutors to make sure it reflects what you say occurred. This could make a huge difference in the outcome.

Our lawyer will provide you with a plea strategy to help mitigate the penalty at court.


Sentencing in the higher courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for False Accounting in the Higher Courts of Victoria Between 2016 and 2021Sentencing in the Magistrates’ Courts of VictoriaSentencing Statistics Pie Chart for Destroy, Deface, Conceal or Falsify Any Account, Records or Documents Required for an Accounting Purpose in the Magistrates' Court of Victoria Between 2018 and 2021

Examples of False Accounting
  • The Director of a company destroys documents about the company’s offshore accounts.
  • An employee at a company hides documents about company assets.
  • An accountant for a firm creates false documents about the firm’s investors.
  • No documents were destroyed, falsified, hidden or created for financial gain.
  • There was no financial gain received from any false accounting.
  • There was no loss incurred to anyone from any false accounting.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Was there any false accounting?
  • Was there any financial gain?
  • Was there a loss to someone else or another company?
  • Can they prove there was false accounting?
  • Can they prove there was financial gain or loss?
Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 5 imprisonment (10 years).

This charge may be heard in the Magistrates’ Court or the County Court.


The section that covers this offence is section 83 of the Crimes Act 1958.

“Were documents falsified?”


What is the legal definition of False Accounting?

False Accounting is when a person dishonestly destroys, falsifies or conceals accounts; resulting in financial gain or loss to another. It is also when a person dishonestly furnishes accounts.

Case Studies
Other Important Resources