A person who intentionally deceives someone else for their own benefit (or for the benefit of someone else) or to cause a detriment to someone is guilty of an offence [Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) s 139].

The maximum penalties for deception are:

  • for a basic offence: 10 years’ imprisonment
  • for an aggravated offence: 15 years’ imprisonment

Whether the offence is aggravated depends on whether offence
occurred under certain aggravating circumstances. These are listed in s 5AA in
Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA). They include (but are not limited to) factors such as whether to offence was committed:

  • against a victim under the age of 12 or over the age of 60;
  • against a victim who had a particular relationship to the offender (e.g., a child, spouse or domestic partner);
  • in association with a criminal organisation;
  • whilst the offender was in a position of authority or trust;
  • against a victim who was in a position of vulnerability because of physical disability or cognitive impairment.

It may be a defence to the charge that you:

  • were under duress;
  • have a factual dispute;
  • had a lack of intention;
  • identification dispute; or
  • suffer from a mental impairment.

If you are charged with deception, the prosecution must prove that:

  1. You deceived (i.e., you made a misrepresentation to) another person (either by words or conduct);
  2. By deceiving that person you either:
    • dishonestly benefited yourself (e.g., by way of gaining property or money); or
    • dishonestly benefited another person; or
    • dishonestly caused a detriment to that person (e.g., by way of loss of property, money or opportunity).