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Students buying assignments online could be charged with fraud

Students who pay essay writing services to complete their university assignments are not only breaching university plagiarism protocols but could also be charged with fraudulent conduct under NSW legislation, legal experts say.

As a Fairfax Media investigation reveals, essay-writing services offered by the Chinese-language website MyMaster are at the centre of a widespread academic cheating scandal, potentially incriminating hundreds of students at almost every university in NSW

David Caruso, the director of the litigation law unit at the University of Adelaide, says students who used MyMaster’s services could potentially “fall foul of laws relating to dishonesty and gaining advantages and benefits via deception”.

“The student is certainly doing something which I think one can characterise as misleading from the point of view of the student’s relationship with the university,” Mr Caruso said.

The offences of fraud and forgery, both of which carry maximum penalties of 10 years imprisonment under NSW criminal law, are among the more serious provisions triggered by the students’ conduct, lawyer and fraud expert Robert Wyld said.

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