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Police Statement about Fraud Scam - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Criminal Law Forum' started by Cecilia, 16 June 2014.

  1. Cecilia

    Cecilia Active Member

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    I was scammed of $2,500 and reported this to the police.

    I have many doubts about the police officer who handled my case for the following reasons:

    1/ When I reported the fraud, the officer tried to discourage me from reporting, saying that I could choose not to report at all because I will have to attend court and that will create more hassle for me.

    2/ I was shocked and distressed that I have been scammed, but the officer told me that I have to leave the fraudster's tools at an accessible place on my property for him to collect it. The officer disregarded completely my fear for my safety, and the loss incurred to me. How unprofessional it is for a police officer to tell the victim to allow criminals to come and leave her property whenever they please.

    3/ I gave the police the car registration number of the fraudsters. The officer asked me to describe them and said that I have to identify them from some identikit. He would arrange the identikit and draft a police statement for me to sign in a couple of days. I was not given a police report number, and the officer did not get back to me in a couple of days as promised.

    4/ I left several messages to the police officer but he did not return my calls.

    5/ A month after my report, I contacted another police station to get an update of my report. The police at the new station checked and said that my name or my address were not in the police system. I was very disappointed because I thought that I reported to the police so that if the fraudsters did any further harm to me, the police would have a record. Police at the new station also told me that I don't need to identify fraudsters from any identikit because their car registration number is enough for the police to find the fraudsters; they said they would send another message to the officer concerned to contact me.

    6/ The officer finally contacted me and said the identikit is too old and could not be used. He gave me the statement he drafted from the written report I gave him when I first saw him. A lot of relevant information in my original report was not included to highlight that it was a fraud e.g. the fraudsters gave me a false name, lied that they were registered tradesmen while they were not. He said he had to draft another statement for me to sign because he said my original report was not written in the police format. I was not happy with the police statement but signed it anyway because I thought I was only allowed to correct any mistake made (e.g. spelling, written wrong numbers etc but not allowed to add to the content of the statement written by police).

    7/ Initially, this officer said a statement is not required from my husband, but now he said he would draft a statement for my husband to sign as well. I suspected that this officer changed his mind because my husband is the one who did not want to report the fraud because the police told him he had to attend court later on if he did.

    Please give me answers to the following questions:

    1/ Am I allowed to request that the statement I have signed be cancelled and replaced with my initial report modified to suit the police format? If not, can another statement be added to the statement I have signed? The officer did not give me a copy of the statement I signed; he gave a reason for it but I did not catch it and did not ask again but just accepted what I was told.

    2/ If my husband is called in to sign his statement, do we have the right to request that the statement be emailed to us so that we can think about it properly, and add any information we think is important? If we go to the police station to sign, we are only given 10' to 15' and we are under pressure to do anything the police tells us to do.

    3/ In fraud cases, is court attendance a "must" for fraud victims?

    4/ How can I ask for another police officer to handle my case since I cannot trust the current officer?

    Many thanks for your help.
     
  2. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    Hi Cecilia,
    So you were scammed by a dodgy tradesperson that left their tools at your house?
     
  3. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    It doesn't sound like fraud to me, it sounds like a consumer dispute with a tradesman.
     
  4. Cecilia

    Cecilia Active Member

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    Yes, he only left his tools at my house because they are worthless, and his many lies to get my money have been finally exposed, so he did not return to collect them. Is there any one who can give me answers to my questions?
     
  5. John R

    John R Well-Known Member

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    To my knowledge, it can be difficult to cancel or withdraw a statement but you can make an additional (e.g. second) statement. That said, this may cause evidentiary issues if a statement/s set out in the first and second statements conflicts or omits a relevant issue.

    You may not have a written right to make such a request - but there's no harm in explaining your circumstances and requesting additional time to review before signing. That said, it is important to remember that frontline police resources across Australia are generally under resourced and working shifts so you may be asked to return to sign at a date and time that is not convenient to you.

    Potentially. This decision is generally made by the prosecution (or defence lawyer) that may require any "fraud victim" to give evidence in the witness box.

    This is an unfortunate situation. You may want to consider asking the Station Manager (Officer in Charge) at first instance?

    Hope this helps. Please keep us updated with your progress.
     
  6. Cecilia

    Cecilia Active Member

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    Fraud is broadly defined as any person who, with intent to defraud, by deceit or any fraudulent means so as to gain a benefit directly or for another person, or cause detriment to any person or organisation directly or indirectly.
    This man told many lies: he gave a false name; pretended to have a registration number; use the name of a company that doesn't belong to him; lied that he worked for the building site next door; he does not even work in the occupation he claimed to be; told a sad story about his family circumstances and many more lies. I felt sorry for him and gave him the job.
    I need someone who can give me answers to my questions.
     
  7. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

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    I have little to add to what JohnR has said above.
    Still, I am not sure it's a police matter.
    Sounds more like a civil dispute involving an unlicensed tradie.
    Start by talking to the fair trading/ consumer affairs agency in your state.
     
  8. Cecilia

    Cecilia Active Member

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    Thank you John for your advice.
     
  9. Cecilia

    Cecilia Active Member

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    Thanks Tim.
     
  10. Strongarms38

    Strongarms38 Well-Known Member

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    I am sadly to say a victim of fraud. That was a long time ago now. I reported to every authority in Australia. My fraud was for $23,000 but was still treated as though I wasn't worth the effort to try and obtain and charge my scammer. Being an online scam brings further difficulties in attempting to find and charge the offender. Our govt's relationship with other countries in general isn't very good so getting aide from overseas isn't going to happen. Your issue is closer to home. I've reported a hit and run to police providing the license plate number of the other vehicle and description of the driver. I was told when I followed up that they'd not even bothered to take my report and hence did nothing. This sadly is not uncommon. Police on the most part are lazy and very rarely follow up on reports no matter how much evidence you provide. Having your report altered by police is normal practice in my experience and occurs at all levels of govt. There's no need for you to appear before a court unless they catch the person responsible and then need you to be present at court when he's facing the charges. You can send a formal complaint to the police regarding how the officer in question has behaved and how he's falsified the evidence that you gave. This still may not help you. You are under no obligation to sign anything the police send you. I'd start with the formal complaint about the officer you first encountered. Complaint forms can be found on the police site in your given state. I'd suggest that you don't get your hopes up that anything will be done. I've been through the formal written complaint procedure before and all that did was provide me with more evidence that the police and govt departments are lazy, negligent and at every level will misconstrue your comments and statement to deliberately bury the issue. This is the most likely outcome. You can engage a private investigator who'll act according to your actual statement and may well find and apprehend this person. But they don't come cheap. Sadly even with a formal complaint about the officer you first dealt with you're unlikely to get the outcome you'd like. Best of luck. Might be worth putting in a formal complaint but may not help as more often than not police and even the CCC would prefer to bury the case rather than actually doing their jobs.
     

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