False or Misleading Information

– section 137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995

False or Misleading Information is when someone lies to a Commonwealth organisation.
This offence would be heard in the Magistrates’ Court.
 
Examples of False or Misleading Information
  • A woman tells Centrelink she is single and lives with a friend when in fact, she lives with her partner.
  • A man who was injured at work receives Work Cover and then does casual cash in hand work and does not disclose this work to Work Cover.
What is the legal definition of False or Misleading Information?
The Prosecution must show that you provided information to a Commonwealth organisation with the knowledge that the information was false or misleading. Or you failed to provide certain details, resulting in the information being misleading.

Legislation
The section that covers this offence is section 137.1 of the Criminal Code Act 1995.

Elements of the offence
A person may be found guilty of False or Misleading Information (Commonwealth) if the following elements are proven in court:
  • The accused gave information to another person; and
  • The accused knew that the information was false or misleading; or
  • The accused omitted any matter or thing without which the information is misleading; and
  • The information was given to a Commonwealth entity; or
  • The information was given to a person who is exercising powers or performing functions under, or in connection with, a law of the Commonwealth; or
  • The information was given in compliance or purported compliance with a law of the Commonwealth.
“Did you lie to Centrelink?”
 
  • You did not give any false or misleading information to a Commonwealth organisation.
  • You did not know that the information was false or misleading.
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
  • Did you forget to tell Centrelink something important?
  • Have you kept information from Centrelink or another government organisation?
  • Can they prove you knew the information was false or misleading?

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 12 months.
 
What can you be sentenced to for this charge?
You will mostly likely receive a fine or a Community Corrections Order if found guilty of this offence. However in serious cases you may might get some months in prison.