The arrest and charging of a man at Brisbane International Airport on suspicion of defrauding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is proof of the Albanese Government’s commitment to protecting both the funding of Australians living with disability and taxpayer dollars, Minister for the NDIS Bill Shorten said.
National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) investigators and Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers intercepted the man as he re-entered the country on Friday.
The 36-year-old’s arrest is the result of an investigation by the NDIA’s fraud team and comes as the Labor Government vows a tougher crackdown on anyone caught attempting to take money from the plans of NDIS participants.
“For a decade we watched successive Liberal Governments mismanage the NDIS and blame people with disability for being unaffordable. This stops now,” Minister Shorten said.
“We will stop making life hard for NDIS participants. Instead, we have pledged to end the wastage in the scheme, including reducing fraud.
“This action taken by the NDIA’s fraud team is evidence that this Government won’t allow our participants’ funding to be the target of any criminal activity.
“I am very concerned there is fraudulent transactions taking place by organised crime and we remain committed to protecting participants and the scheme from criminals.”
The man was held at the airport’s police precinct and questioned over alleged fraudulent claiming from funding of NDIS participants while acting as a disability service provider. He was subsequently charged with Obtaining a Financial Gain by Deception.
It is alleged the man received more than $430,000 in NDIS payments during a five-month period to April, of which more than $314,000 has been identified as being fraudulently claimed.
He became the subject of an investigation following tip-offs that he had made claims for supports never provided.
His arrest comes the week after a syndicate of five people from Western Sydney were charged for allegedly defrauding the NDIS of more than $2 million. On Thursday a sixth person was also arrested and charged in relation to Operation Pyxis.
That group, apprehended following an investigation by the NDIS Fraud Taskforce, stands accused of wrongfully claiming money from NDIS participants for services not actually received.
Anyone with information about suspected fraud involving the NDIS should contact the NDIS fraud reporting and scams helpline on 1800 650 717, or email [email protected].