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31 July 2015—Fighting fraud against the Commonwealth

Minister for Justice

Fighting fraud against the Commonwealth

31 July 2015

Today’s release of Fraud Against the Commonwealth: Report to Government 2010-11 to 2012-13 by the Australian Institute of Criminology confirms why the multi-agency Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre (FAC Centre) is vital in the fight against serious fraud and corruption.

According to the Report, 265,866 incidents of suspected internal and external fraud were recorded over the three year period. This totalled an estimated $530 million worth of losses.

The FAC Centre was established within the Australian Federal Police (AFP) a year ago and brings together the combined resources and expertise of nine agencies.

The centre has been designed to triage serious and complex fraud and corruption referrals to ensure suspected crimes are quickly directed to relevant law enforcement agencies for action.

The agencies within the FAC Centre access existing intelligence resources, such as the Australian Crime Commission’s National Criminal Intelligence Fusion Capability, drawing on specialists, data and analytics to develop fraud-related intelligence.

A recent example is Operation Agron, an AFP led joint agency investigation with the Department of Human Services (DHS) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) which involved alleged fraud against Commonwealth child care and social welfare programs. It is alleged that the sole Director of a family day care business claimed Child Care Benefit (CCB) subsidies that she was not entitled to totalling approximately $3.6 million. It is further alleged that the accused created and lodged false documents to DHS to support these claims.

In March 2015, the AFP, DSS and DHS executed multiple search warrants in the Albury/Wodonga area and arrested a 27 year old female. The alleged offender is currently before Court, facing charges of obtaining financial advantage by deception; using forged documents; falsification of documents; and dealing in proceeds of crime worth $1million or more.

Property and cash in excess of $2.4 million has been restrained by the AFP as part of an associated proceeds of crime action.

Perpetrators of fraud are on notice, you will be caught, the Commonwealth will utilise every resource at its disposal to tackle fraud head on.

The FAC Centre brings together the Australian Taxation Office, Australian Securities and Investments Commission, Australian Crime Commission, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, Department of Human Services, Department of Immigration and Border Protection, Department of Defence, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Attorney-General’s Department (Advisory Participant) and Commonwealth Director of Prosecutions (Advisory Participant) in order to assess, prioritise and respond to serious fraud and corruption matters.

The Fraud against the Commonwealth: Report to Government 2010-11 to 2012-13 is available at www.aic.gov.au