A Sydney woman has been charged and $5.3 million worth of assets restrained following a multi-agency investigation into alleged fraud against the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).
The 42-year-old woman was arrested yesterday (25 September) by Australian Federal Police (AFP) Taskforce Iris officers at her Auburn residence.
Operation Pavo – a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Fraud Taskforce investigation comprising members from the AFP’s Taskforce Iris, NDIA, and Services Australia – began its investigation into the woman’s activities in June 2020.
Investigators from the three agencies examined complaints a Sydney healthcare practitioner falsified reports, overcharged for services and used allotted NDIS funding while neglecting the best interests of their clients’ needs.
It is also alleged that as a healthcare practitioner, the Auburn woman collided with other scheme participants and their representatives to misrepresent the value of the services she provided.
The arrest yesterday follows warrants executed in Auburn and Granville in August.
Investigators have seized electronic items and documents which will be subject to further forensic examination.
In addition to the criminal investigation, the AFP’s Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce commenced court proceedings seeking to have several assets linked to the woman restrained. Under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (Cth), several properties in New South Wales, bank accounts and a vehicle were restrained by the AFP as suspected proceeds of crime in those proceedings.
The restrained vehicle was taken into the possession of the AFP following the woman’s arrest.
The woman was charged with 21 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception, contrary to section 134.2(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth) and is due to appear before Central Court on 16 December 2020.
“Let this arrest serve as a warning to those who think the NDIS is a target worth exploiting. We will bring as many resources as we need to stop your criminal enterprise and put you behind bars – and ensure NDIS funds are used for the benefit of people with disabilities who need those supports.”
Deputy Commissioner Pointing said.