Man coerces others to claim fraudulent bushfire benefits
A man has been charged with allegedly assisting members of the public to fraudulently obtain Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payments that were intended to support victims of the NSW bushfires. Services Australia received a tip-off that the man was allegedly calling the hotline to claim payments on behalf of other people even though they were not adversely affected by the NSW bushfires. He would then receive payments or benefits in return. The man also allegedly threatened potential witnesses to the fraud.
The man has been charged 6 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception and one count of influencing a Commonwealth public official under the Criminal Code Act 1995. Both charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.