Sydney property developer Jean Nassif’s daughter has been granted bail after being charged with fraud offences following several police raids across Sydney.
27-year-old Ashlyn Nassif, who is a partner in a law firm, EA Legal, was charged with dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception and publishing false or misleading material to obtain an advantage.
The arrest followed four search warrants at businesses in Sydney’s CBD and Concord, as well as at a home in Chiswick executed by detectives from the State Crime Command’s Organised Crime Squad as part of an ongoing fraud investigation.
It is alleged that Ms Nassif made and submitted false or misleading sales contracts in order to access a $150 million loan for the construction of three buildings in the Skyview development at Castle Hill.
Ms Nassif has been provided with “strict” bail conditions including not contacting her father and a list of 23 other people, surrendering her passport, living with her mother on a 9 pm to 6 am curfew and report to Burwood Police Station daily.
Magistrate Greg Grogin said the charges against Nassif “are extremely serious in nature” given she is a legal practitioner of the NSW Supreme Court, and that her alleged actions were “part of a sophisticated and planned situation”.
Magistrate Grogin also agreed to bail due to her mitigating circumstances that she has no prior criminal record and is a person of good character.
She had also “surrendered herself for arrest and has cooperated with police at all times”. Said Ms Nassif’s lawyer.
A bond of $2.6 million was also entered into so long as Ms Nassif attends all court proceedings.
Dishonestly Obtain Financial Advantage By Deception
The Commonwealth Fraud Control Policy defines fraud as ‘dishonestly obtaining a benefit, or causing a loss, by deception or other means.’
Examples of fraud include;
- Theft including identity theft
- Accounting fraud
- Making or using forged or falsified court documents
- Providing false or misleading information to the Commonwealth, or failing to provide information when there is an obligation to do so
- Unlawful use of, or unlawful obtaining of, property, equipment, material or services
- Cartel conduct
- Misuse of commonwealth credit cards
- Causing a loss, or avoiding and/or creating a liability
Fraudulent offences and penalties in NSW
Fraudulent activities in NSW are proscribed by the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) and the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
Under these acts, individuals can be charged with fraud if they are found to have engaged in activities such as
- Obtaining property, financial advantage or services by deception
- Obtaining property, financial advantage or services by false pretences
- Causing a financial disadvantage to another person or entity through deception or false pretences
- Forgery of documents or signatures
- Embezzlement of property or money
There are severe legal consequences for fraud in NSW including imprisonment and fines however is dependent on the circumstances of the case and mitigating or aggravating factors.
Under section 192E of the Crimes Act (1900) a person who, by any deception, dishonesty-
- Obtains property belonging to another
- Obtains any financial advantage or causes any financial disadvantage
Is guilty of fraud and will be liable to a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.
If a person dishonestly destroys or conceals any accounting record with these intentions they will also be found guilty and face a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment under section 192F of the Crimes Act.
Further, Section 192G relates to the Intention to defraud by false or misleading statements.
This means that a person who dishonestly makes or publishes, or concurs in making or publishing, any statement (whether or not in writing) that is false or misleading in a material particular with the intention of obtaining property belonging to another, or obtaining a financial advantage or causing a financial disadvantage, may receive a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment.
Fraud statistics in NSW
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, fraud is a serious problem in NSW.
As per findings, in 2021-2022 in particular card fraud and scam exposure had increased from the previous year.
Card fraud involves the use of credit, debit or EFTPOS card details to make purchases or withdraw cash without the account owner’s permission.
On the other hand, a scam is a fraudulent invitation, request, notification or offer, designed to obtain personal information or money or other obtain a financial benefit by deceptive means.
Statistics show that 1.7 million people (8.1% of persons) experienced card fraud, and 52,00 (2.7% of persons) people experienced a scam in NSW in 2021-2022.
If fraud is suspected, individuals are encouraged to report it to authorities to protect the community and reduce the occurrence of fraudulent activity.
By Alyssa Maschmedt.