Senior public servant involved in Australia’s largest public sector fraud
Relevant impacts: Financial impact, government outcomes impact, reputational impact
A former Western Australian senior public official used an elaborate fake invoicing scheme, in what has been described as Australia's largest public sector fraud.
The WA Department of Communities helps ensure vulnerable people can access public housing. Yet over an 11-year period, a public servant exploited his senior position in the department to steal $27 million to fund his own lavish lifestyle, which included an insatiable gambling habit, race horses and a riverside mansion.
He stole the funds by submitting false invoices to the department for shell companies he controlled. The false invoices for various sums were approved by himself, even though no products or services were delivered. At the time he oversaw the department's corporate operations and large-scale government procurements. By exploiting his position of considerable influence, he could direct these fraudulent payments to accounts he had access to without any further checks or oversight.
The fraud was unravelled in 2019 when an analysis of his corporate credit cards found matches to the shell companies he controlled. Covert surveillance then identified that he withdrew cash from the accounts linked to the shell companies