Some 200 people with a disability have had funds stolen from their accounts after a man allegedly defrauded the NDIS to the tune of $400,000.
Families and Social Services Minister Paul Fletcher announced on Thursday that the National Disability Insurance Fraud Taskforce had made its first arrest, with a Melbourne man accused of spending the money to buy a luxury cars, jewellery and designer clothes.
“Police will allege that between July and August the man defrauded the NDIS of the funds and in so doing directly impacted the ability of over 200 NDIS participants to access ongoing support,” he said in a statement.
“This particular gentleman has sought to defraud the Commonwealth and taxpayers of some $400,000. He’s been arrested, he’ll be charged. And what I’d say to anybody, if you are foolish enough to think of seeking to defraud the National Disability Insurance Scheme … you can expect that we’ll pursue you with the full force of the law,” Mr Fletcher told ABC radio.
He did not specify whether the taskforce was involved in detecting the alleged fraud and said the government was yet to “proactively” contact all the people affected.
“The National Disability Insurance Agency has worked quickly to proactively inform them when money has been removed from their account and of course to replace it,” he said on Thusday.
“We need to make sure that Australians with disability, who are supported by the National Disability Insurance Scheme – that might be people with cerebral palsy or with Down syndrome, with autism spectrum disorder – we need to make sure that the money which has been allocated to them as part of their plan, of course people go in and have a plan that identifies the supports (their) needs.”
The then Social Services Minister Dan Tehan announced the establishment of the taskforce in July, saying a squad of 100 officers would be set up to target people ripping off the national disability scheme.
The squad, a joint operation involving the Department of Human Services, the National Disability Insurance Agency and the Australian Federal Police, would ensure a culture of integrity around the NDIS, he said.
Reportable provider behaviour
- falsification of invoices
- provision of services by unqualified people
- under-servicing clients
- claiming for supports not provided
- charging unreasonable amounts for travel
- providing misleading information to obtain registration
- attempting to inappropriately influence participants to use services
Reportable employee behaviour
- falsification of qualifications
- accepting gifts
- abuse of entitlements
- improper use of agency funds
- theft, misappropriation, blackmail