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The deception offences are an important group among the offences against property. They are now found in the Theft Act 1968 and the Theft Act 1978. In addition, the common law offence of conspiracy to defraud (see Chapter 16.3) still (if temporarily) exists, and this offence has close links with the statutory deception offences. Under the original scheme in the 1968 Act, there were two major deception offences: obtaining property by deception under s.15 and obtaining a pecuniary advantage (essentially the avoidance of debt) by deception under s.16. But s.16 proved to be unworkable as it stood; one concisely worded subsection — s.16(2)(a) — caused such difficulty that it had to be repealed and replaced by a number of more specific offences in the Theft Act 1978. We now need to discuss six offences instead of two, but there are several common elements among them. The 1968 Act also covers other frauds, such as false accounting and false statements by company directors, which we do not have the space to discuss.
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