Referrals frequently asked questions

How do I make a referral?

To make a referral see referrals and tip-offs.

What evidence or supporting documents do I need to provide with my referral?

Examples of information and evidence used to support referrals might include:

  • Statement of Affairs/Bankruptcy Form
  • correspondence with the Alleged Offender
  • proof of delivery/service of any relevant correspondence
  • financial or banking statements
  • proof of ownership.

These types of documents are required to assist in determining whether an offence has occurred. In assessing your referral, we will consider whether there is sufficient evidence to prove an offence to the criminal standard which is beyond a reasonable doubt.

It is best to review the information and evidence you have available and provide us with all the material you think proves the conduct alleged in the referral. We may come back to you and ask for further information or specific documentation, and this may happen at various stages throughout the assessment and/or investigation process. The more promptly you are able to provide us this information, the quicker we can progress the assessment or investigation.

See Inspector-General Practice Statement 14 for more information about referrals and the information required from referrers.

When do we investigate?

AFSA Enforcement has the power to investigate offences and breaches under the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (the Act), and the Personal Property Securities Act 2009. Section 137.1 and 137.2 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 are also considered offences against the Act.

AFSA Enforcement does not have the power to investigate matters under other legislation.

We conduct assessments to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to prove an offence under the relevant legislation.

As part of the assessment, we consider a number of factors to determine the appropriate outcome, including whether an Official Caution should be issued or whether a full investigation is conducted with the view to referring the matter to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP) to consider prosecution action.

See where to find help or seek legal assistance for a range of other agencies and support services that provide assistance or guidance.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) deals with referrals or complaints relating to companies.

The Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) deals with referrals or complaints relating to financial matters such as credit, finance and loans, and financial advice.

Can I make an anonymous complaint?

Yes, you can remain anonymous by submitting a tip-off.

How long will an investigation take?

We will assess the referral and aim to advise you out of the outcome of the assessment within 5 business days of receipt of all relevant information/documentation. The length of an investigation varies and depends upon many factors such as the complexity of the matter, the timeliness of information being provided, and the expected outcome of the investigation.

Depending on the expected outcome of the investigation, you may receive correspondence from us requesting updates on the continued administration of the matter, further information or documentation, or the provision of a witness statement.

What happens at the end of an investigation?

Investigation results may include:

  • compliance achieved (such as the documents required or the Statement of Affairs being provided by the alleged offender)
  • the issue of an official caution
  • submission of a Brief of Evidence to the CDPP to make a decision about initiating prosecution action
  • no further action following further investigation, which can be due to a variety of reasons (e.g insufficient evidence, or public interest factors, etc).

We will advise you of the outcome of the investigation.

If you have any other questions email: fraud.enquiries [at] afsa.gov.au