The Fraud Act 2006

The Fraud Act 2006, repealed and new offences

The Fraud Act 2006 (FA 2006) replaces a number of deception offences under the Theft Acts 1968 and 1978 with a general offence of fraud.

The offences that were repealed on implementation of FA 2006 on 15 January 2007 are:

  • obtaining property by deception (TA 1968, s 15);
  • obtaining a money transfer by deception (TA 1968, s 15A);
  • obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception (TA 1968, s 16);
  • dishonestly procuring execution of a valuable security (TA 1968, s 20(2));
  • obtaining services by deception (TA 1978, s 1);
  • securing the remission of an existing liability to make a payment (TA 1978, s 2(1)(a));
  • dishonestly inducing a creditor to wait for payment or to forgo payment with the intention of permanently defaulting on all or part of an existing liability (TA 1978, s 2(1)(b));
  • obtaining an exemption from or abatement of liability to make a payment (TA 1978, s 2(1)(c)).

The new offence of fraud under FA 2006 can be committed in one of three ways:

  • by false representation (s 2);
  • by failing, in breach of legal duty, to disclose information (s 3); and
  • by abuse of position (s 4).

The two basic requirements which must be met before any of the three limbs of the new offence can be charged are that:

  • the behaviour of the defendant was dishonest; and
  • that the defendant’s intention was to make a gain, or cause a loss to another.

Unlike the now defunct offences under the Theft Acts, however, it is no longer necessary to show that a gain or loss has been made, or that a victim was deceived by the defendant’s behaviour.

False representation

A representation will be false if it is wrong or misleading, and the person making it knew that it is, or might be, wrong or misleading. The representation can be made to a person but also a machine (eg, a CHIP and PIN machine). ‘Phishing’ emails, which dupe people into handing over their bank details, would be covered by this offence.

Failure to disclose information

To be guilty of this offence, the defendant must have had a legal duty to disclose information and failed to disclose it. Unlike the repealed deception offences, it is irrelevant whether or not anyone is actually deceived or any property actually gained or lost.

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For more information on:

  • Abuse of position
  • Penalties
  • Other provisions