26 September 2023

Criminals creating crimes against PS

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Programs funded by the Commonwealth are being targeted by criminals according to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) which said the crooks are using methods to fraudulently claim benefits.

Chief Executive of ACIC, Michael Phelan said the Commission had collected intelligence on the size and extent of the targeting, but it was classified and not available to the public.

“Methods used by operators across different programs to fraudulently claim benefits are consistent across multiple criminal groups,” Mr Phelan said.

“Professional facilitators, including criminally complicit accountants and registered tax agents, are assisting serious and organised crime groups to defraud Government programs and schemes,” he said.

“In support of our vision of an Australia hostile to criminal exploitation, we engage in multi-agency collaboration to address fraud vulnerabilities in all Commonwealth-funded programs.”

Mr Phelan said ACIC did this by providing its unique capabilities to assist partners in developing intelligence insights and responses to criminal syndicates engaged in fraudulent activity.

“Serious and organised crime groups will continue to look for vulnerabilities in Commonwealth-funded programs in order to exploit the system,” he said.

“The joint capabilities of the ACIC and our partners position us to combat this criminal activity and ensure funding goes to those that genuinely require it.”

The Chief Executive said ACIC were partners in the Serious Financial Crime Taskforce which facilitated the coordinated identification of, and response to, financially motivated criminal activity, “and we contribute as a member of the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce.”

“We also participate in other task forces to enhance the integrity of the financial system in Australia, including the Phoenix Taskforce and the Black Economy Standing Taskforce (led by the Australian Taxation Office) and the Fintel Alliance (led by AUSTRAC),” Mr Phelan said.

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