NSW Police say as many as 100 childcare fraud syndicates are operating across Sydney, scamming taxpayers out of up to $750 million a year.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith made the extraordinary revelation while addressing the media on Thursday afternoon, after police charged an additional 22 people over an elaborate syndicate that is alleged to have raked in nearly $4 million.
“Investigators have now charged 39 people involved in this syndicate and more arrests are expected,” Mr Smith told reporters.
“Our objective is to completely dismantle the business model which we know is being used by at least 100 other syndicates with an estimated potential value of the fraud across Sydney at least $750 million per year.”
His comments came after vision released by police on Thursday showed a Sydney woman hurling abuse at officers filming her arrest.
“Get that away from my face,” the woman yells, giving the middle finger to a cameraman as she is taken into Bankstown police station.
“You’re going to get my finger up your f***ing ass, you f***ing wanker, f*** off.”
I would like some further details about this $750 million figure, because it’s truly staggering. Particularly if one assumes that Sydney is not the only place in Australia where this sort of organised fraud is being perpetrated on taxpayers. We could potentially be talking about billions of dollars a year around Australia. Though I doubt whether other “childcare crime syndicates” are as sophisticated as this one:
Police allege the illegitimate company raked in at least $3.9 million in rebates over a 10-month period by exploiting the federal government’s childcare subsidy scheme.
The company’s director alone pocketed $30,000 a fortnight, police said in May.
At the time, they revealed some 150 parents who claimed they had between three and seven children in care claimed rebates.
It’s alleged parents and carers handed over their children’s details, including their Centrelink Customer Reference Number, in exchange for cash.
Red Roses Family Day Care looked like a legitimate business operating out of multiple sites in Sydney and Wollongong.
It said it provided “safe, nurturing and loving” care to more than 450 children but, police allege there were no real children, just photographs of them.
Play areas had been mocked up, timesheets faked and rosters fixed.
Police allege the syndicate went as far as to have children brought in during government inspections.
Potemkin child care centres; one has to admire the ingenuity – while at the same time throwing the book at the fraudsters and all the parents who bought into the scheme. Truth be told this is merely a case of privatising government waste; a lot more of our money disappears each year with not much to show for it, not even fake children.
It also looks like this time we have imported the necessary entrepreneurship, as reported by “The Daily Mail” (but not News.com.au):
The man who allegedly masterminded the scam, Alee Farmann, is an Iraqi refugee.
Several others arrested seem to share Mr Farmann’s cultural background, including the woman yelling at the media, “You’re going to get my finger up your f***ing ass, you f***ing wanker, f*** off,” who wearing an Adidas hoodie and a hijab combo. It’s good that’s modest! Though her vocabulary suggests she has assimilated in Australia very well.
I know I’m probably expecting too much but maybe government programs, like this child care rebate, should not be designed by the bureaucrats in Canberra in such a way that the government is being defrauded out of a three quarters of a billion dollars per year by up to 100 organised groups in one city alone? (Child Care Rebate has been as of last year replaced by Child Care Subsidy, so called because it subsidises Iraqi refugees in buying $1.5 million townhouses).