4515.0 - Federal Defendants, Australia, 2011-12 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/05/2013   
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16 May 2013

Embargoed: 11.30 am Canberra Time
Federal fraud cases drop by 39 per cent

The number of defendants charged with fraud and deception in Australia's criminal courts decreased 39 per cent in 2011-12 from the previous year, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today.

ABS Director of Crime and Justice Statistics, Brad Petry, said today's Federal Defendants publication revealed that fraud had decreased despite the total number of defendants remaining consistent from last year.

"The number of defendants finalised in the criminal courts has decreased less than 1 per cent, yet those charged with fraud decreased by 39 per cent," Mr Petry said.

"Last year fraud was the most common principal federal offence, representing one-third of all offences. This year fraud accounted for one-fifth of all offences."

Overall, the number of defendants charged with fraud and deception in Australia's criminal courts dropped from 3,525 in 2010-11 to 2,162 in 2011-12.

The decrease in defendants charged with fraud and deception can be seen in both males and females, with males decreasing 35 per cent, and females decreasing 42 per cent between 2010-11 and 2011-12.


Just over three quarters of federal defendants charged with fraud and deception were proven guilty. This compares to 70 per cent of all federal defendants proven guilty in 2011-12.

For fraud, 43 per cent of defendants found guilty received a monetary order as their principal sentence and 26 per cent were sentenced to a custodial order.

The number of organisations finalised in the criminal courts increased 86 per cent from 2010-11 to 2011-12. The increase can be seen in ‘Offences against justice’, with 341 more organisations charged under this division compared to last year.

Further information can be found in Federal Defendants, Australia 2011-12 (cat. No. 4515.0) available for free download from the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au).

Media notes:

  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • 'Fraud and deception' and 'fraud' refers to 'Fraud, deception and related offences' in the ANZSOC classification.
  • 'Offences against justice' refers to 'Offences against justice procedures, government security and government operations' in the ANZSOC classification.