White collar crime

White- collar crime

“White collar crime” is an umbrella term for financial crimes committed by professionals.

If white collar crime is committed, a person may be able to bring legal proceedings against the offender for compensation, without needing to rely on police to prosecute the offender.

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Types of white-collar crimes

White-collar crime may include:

  • fraud (including cyber and insurance fraud);
  • theft (including misappropriation of funds or assets);
  • tax evasion;
  • insider trading;
  • obtaining financial advantage by deception;
  • breach of directors’ duties;
  • money laundering;
  • embezzlement;
  • bribery; and/or
  • blackmail/coercion.
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Fraud Lawyers


Fraud is a highly complex area of law, and is generally defined as intentionally wrongful, deceitful or dishonest behaviour for personal or financial gain, to the detriment of another party. An example —  deceptively obtaining, property, goods or services that do not belong to you and using them for your own advantage, or the advantage of third parties.

Fraud is often categorised by the type of act committed, or by the industry in which it occurs.

The categories of fraud in Australia include:

  • misappropriation of funds or assets;
  • theft of cash (from a safe or till);
  • taxation fraud;
  • bank card fraud;
  • investment fraud;
  • superannuation fraud; and
  • identity fraud.

Criminal fraud in Queensland is prohibited under section 408C of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld). The common element of criminal fraud is dishonesty.  Further, the penalty for criminal fraud under section 408C is more significant if the value of the property (or the value of what the offender gains from the dishonesty) is more than $100.000.


In Queensland, fraud may also be a basis for civil proceedings involving deceit. There are numerous causes of action in cases that may involve fraud, and some may overlap. They include:

  • money had and received (stealing cash);
  • conversion, detinue or trespass to chattels (stealing property);
  • breach of fiduciary duty (acting in a way that is inconsistent with their duties, for example, an employee stealing from their employer);
  • unlawful conspiracy (agreeing with another person behind someone else’s back to financially hurt them); and/or
  • a Barnes v Addy claim (knowing assistance or knowing receipt of fraud).
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Corporate litigation

Corporate crime

Corporate crime is crime committed by a company, a business entity, or a person acting on behalf of a company or a business entity and encompasses different types of illegal activity.

Generally, corporate crimes tend to involve a director or other officer of a company breaching their fiduciary duty by committing an act that has an adverse effect on the company’s shareholders, or the company itself, for their own personal benefit. However, it may also involve various other scenarios, such as a company being established purely to conceal illegitimate activity.

Corporate crime often overlaps with white collar crime due to their similar nature.

corporate crime being committed by a company

Perpetrators of corporate crime can face both criminal prosecution, and sanctions under the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (Cth). The penalties that apply under section 408C of the Criminal Code Act 1899 (Qld) are more severe where the perpetrator is a director or officer of a company, and the crime is committed against the company, or where the victim is the perpetrator’s employer.

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Your rights

How we can help

Whether you have suffered loss as a result of the dishonesty of another, or if you yourself are accused of engaging in conduct which might amount to fraud, you should seek immediate legal advice.

At Gibbs Wright, our experienced team can offer advice and representation to resolve your disputes as efficiently and effectively as possible.

Offering advice and representation


If you are the victim of white-collar or corporate crime, there are various remedies which may be available to you to recover money or property, depending on the circumstances. These include:

  • account of profits;
  • damages/compensation;
  • tracing; and/or
  • injunctions.


If you have been charged with white-collar or corporate crime, there are various remedies which may be available to you, depending on the charge. These include:

  • consent;
  • duress (threat of violence);
  • honest claim of right; and/or
  • reasonable mistake.

At Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers, our lawyers approach and assess each case carefully and strategically. We can advise you on your rights and help you, whether you are bringing a claim or defending one.

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Why us

Why choose Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers

Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers deal in white-collar crime and have experience in dealing with significant matters.  

 We have successfully defended and settled matters of employee theft up to $750,000. We have also defended regulatory matters both at trial and on appeal.  If you have been charged with a white-collar or fraud-related offence, you have suffered a loss as a result of the dishonesty of another, or you need legal advice regarding any possible white-collar criminal matter, you can discuss it with us today at Gibbs Wright Litigation Lawyers.

  • Commercially viable outcomes
  • Dedicated litigation firm
  • Outstanding client satisfaction
  • High success rate
  • Direct contact with your lawyer
  • Brisbane-based litigation team
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Your team

Our white-collar crime team

Melany Dowse


Rebekka Hallberg

Mitchell Caldwell

Litigation solicitor

Mitchell Caldwell

Special CounSEL

Melany Dowse

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is white-collar crime?

White-collar crime is broadly defined as illegal acts committed by a person in a company, for financial gain. It includes crimes of fraud, bribery, insider trading, embezzlement and money laundering.

Do I have to engage a lawyer if I am involved in or affected by white-collar crime?

Engaging a lawyer is not compulsory but white-collar crime can often involve many thousands of dollars, so it is vital that you obtain proper legal advice to ensure you are protecting your rights, as well as maximising your chances of achieving the best possible outcome.

Gibbs Wright white-collar crime lawyers can offer advice on all options to ensure an effective resolution. Call us for no-obligation, confidential consultation.

What can a litigation lawyer do?

A litigation lawyer can offer advice on how to lodge or defend a claim. They may, for example, be involved in helping to negotiate a resolution without the need for court proceedings. If negotiation is not successful, the lawyer can help with court proceedings.

Will I need to go to court for my white-collar crime matter?

Court proceedings can be costly, time-consuming and stressful. Our lawyers at Gibbs Wright will always attempt to negotiate a resolution before recommending your matter be litigated in court.

What is the Gibbs Wright process?

At Gibbs Wright, we work closely with you to determine the best plan for your particular circumstances, taking into account your finances and expectations.

We will walk you through each step of the journey, which begins with a free initial discussion to assess the strength of your case and your legal options.

We will request key documents from you, such as bank records and employment contracts, to assess this. If we determine that we can help you, we will provide an estimate of fees, calculated based on the expected cost and complexity of the matter. If you agree with our proposed strategy, we will vigorously pursue or defend your claim on your behalf.

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