Six people allegedly involved in a Western Sydney crime syndicate have been arrested by the Australian Federal Police.
These arrests were made over a multi-million dollar fraud against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
This was updated in a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), AUSTRAC and Services Australia.
According the AFP, the value of the fraudulent claims are alleged to be in the millions.
“It will be alleged the syndicate has claimed more than $10 million since 2017 in NDIS funding. Police inquiries identified a syndicate allegedly operating across three companies to defraud the NDIS.”
More than 100 AFP investigators, forensic specialists and more than 50 partner agency members conducted operational activity across Sydney.
A 34-year-old man and 30-year-old woman from Lidcombe and a 32-year-old Monterey man are alleged to be the company operators.
Police said the first two engaged a 22-year-old Merrylands man to withdraw cash from approved claims on their behalf.
A fifth member, 24-year-old man from Granville, was paid at least $40,000 to set up a bank account in his name to facilitate one company’s claims.
The group allegedly obtained NDIS funding for people who do not have a genuine disability.
During 11 search warrants, police seized flashy cars, cash, jewellery, cryptocurrency and 8kgs of gold bullion worth approximately $600,000.
The cars include a BMW M3, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.
The police also found “a significant amount of jewellery.”
AFP investigators and forensic specialists are continuing to examine the evidence and work closely with the NDIA to identify any further alleged offending.
NDIA Chief Risk Officer Mel Woodburn said:
“Fraud is a crime, and the agency will not tolerate the misuse of funds. One dollar fraudulently obtained is one dollar that isn’t received by those for whom it was intended – our participants.”
Investigations to date uncovered allegations that the criminal syndicate:
- obtained NDIS funding for people who do not have a genuine disability (false entitlement);
- skimmed NDIS funding from genuine NDIS participants without their knowledge (false invoices for services not provided);
- conspired with NDIS participants or their families/nominees and other ‘sub-contracted’ NDIS service providers, to obtain NDIS funds that they are not entitled to receive;
- conspired with NDIS participants or their families/nominees to monetarise their genuine disability; and
- over-claimed for services provided to genuine NDIS participants.
AFP Commander Kirsty Schofield alleged they were driven by money and anticipates more arrests.
Anyone with information about suspected fraud involving the National Disability Insurance Scheme should contact the Fraud Reporting Hotline on 1800 650 717.