Australia

'Selfish and despicable': Five arrested in alleged $1m NDIS fraud scheme

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Police said investigations are continuing after five people were arrested for allegedly defrauding the National Disability Insurance Scheme of more than $1 million.

Five people have been arrested for allegedly defrauding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) of more than $1 million, which police suspect was used towards purchasing luxury cars.

On Wednesday morning, officers attended homes in the western Sydney suburbs of Lurnea and Liverpool, where they arrested three men - 40, 27 and 30 years old - and two women - 35 and 27 - alleged to be connected to three separate NDIS providers.

Police believe the three providers fraudulently claimed payments from more than 70 people on disability plans or their carers, totalling more than $1.1 million.

During the raids, police seized three cars - a Porsche Cayenne, an Audi A3 and Mercedes E63 - which they suspect were purchased with fraudulent funds.

“This is an organised criminal activity preying on those that society has chosen to help– it took money directly out of the pockets of NDIS participants, reducing their ability to obtain crucial assistance and services to help them lead their lives,” Australian Federal Police Acting Commander Mark McIntyre said in a statement on Wednesday.

“Unfortunately this is not an isolated case, and we will continue to work with our task force partners to identify those preying on our needy and bring them to account for their selfish and despicable actions.”

Police said another 100 potential victims had been identified and that the syndicate members had applied to register another four NDIS providers.

The arrests are the result of a six-month joint investigation by the AFP, the Department of Human Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).

Acting CEO of the NDIA, Vicki Rundle, said she would ensure people affected by the fraud had their funds returned.

“We want to make it clear that fraud of the NDIS will not be tolerated. The NDIA takes the matter of fraud very seriously and will continue to invest in our capability to continue to identify attempts to defraud the scheme," she said.

The five are expected to be charged with a range of fraud and proceeds of crime offences.

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