The 27,000 ‘scumbags’ investigators have set their sights on as flood victims are rocked by ‘despicable’ false claims
- More than 27,000 flood disaster payment claims deemed as suspicious
- Government Services minister Bill Shorten labels fraudsters as ‘scumbags’
- Over the past year 916 investigations of claims have led to 57 prosecutions
- Investigations of suspected fraud delaying payments to those in genuine need
A furious government minister has lashed out at the ‘scumbags’ putting in dodgy claims for flood disaster payments.
There have been more than 27,000 suspicious claims made for relief funds intended for victims of this year’s floods in NSW and Queensland.
Authorities have launched more than 793 investigations into alleged fake claims for disaster relief since February up until the end of July.
The northern NSW city of Lismore was one of the regions affected by flooding in July but unfortunately the fraudsters are looking to cash in on disaster relief payments intended for real victims
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten vowed that fraudsters would be caught.
‘It’s despicable conduct and the people doing it are scumbags,’ Mr Shorten said.
‘The high number of claims that have been triggered as potentially fraudulent is alarming.
‘Services Australia are working around the clock to investigate these claims, and people who defraud taxpayers will be caught and face charges.’
The one-off $1000 payment made to flood victims in NSW and Queensland after the February floods has proved particularly tempting for fraudsters.
Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has labelled those fraudulently claiming flood disaster payments as ‘scumbags
Roughly $10.5million has been withheld from the suspected 27,770 fraudulent claims over the floods in February and July.
In July alone $7million was kept out of the hands of potential fraudsters.
There have been more than 916 investigations into alleged fraud of natural disaster relief programs in the past year with 57 referred for prosecution, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
Over 27,000 disaster relief claims from NSW and Queensland floods this year have been flagged as suspicious
Convicted cases include a NSW woman who used 42 stolen identities and 31 invented identities to claim payments for the NSW bushfires in September 2019 to the Victorian bushfires at the end of that year.
The woman put her ill-gotten gains into 42 bank accounts at nine banks before being caught.
She was sentenced to 26 months’ jail and had to back $86,674.
Another NSW woman was sentenced to four months’ jail for giving a fake address and supplying false images of supposed bushfire damage in September 2019.
A woman who used stolen identity payments to claim four payments for the same fires in 2019 was sentenced to 14 months’ jail and had to pay back $20,342.
Services Australia has received 3.5 million disaster relief claims from NSW and Queensland floods this year
Services Australia received 3.5 million disaster relief claims relating to this year’s floods in NSW and Queensland.
The total damage bill for the February floods alone has been put at around $4.3 billion.