Five arrested for million-dollar NDIS fraud

Five people have been arrested and luxury cars seized in western Sydney over an organised criminal syndicate suspected of defrauding the National Disability Insurance Scheme of millions of dollars.

It will be alleged the syndicate controlled three NDIS providers that fraudulently claimed $1.1 million in NDIS payments from more than 70 people on disability plans or those managing their affairs.

Investigations are ongoing, with more than 100 other potential victims identified in connection to the three entities allegedly controlled by the syndicate — Universal Group Australia Pty Ltd, Reliance Disability Services and United Mission.

“This is an organised criminal activity preying on those that society has chosen to help,” said AFP Acting Commander Mark McIntyre, Manager Criminal Assets and Fraud and Anti-Corruption.

“It took money directly out of the pockets of NDIS participants, reducing their ability to obtain crucial assistance and services to help them lead their lives.

“Unfortunately this is not an isolated case, and we will continue to work with our taskforce partners to identify those preying on our needy and bring them to account for their selfish and despicable actions.”

A joint statement by the Australian Federal Police, Department of Human Services and the National Disability Insurance Agency says the three entities were believed to have received more than $2.6 million in NDIS payments since December 2017.

“Further inquiries are required to determine whether these payments are legitimate or fraudulent,” the statement reads.

The AFP seized a Porsche Cayenne, an Audi A3 and Mercedes E63 suspected of being purchased with funds fraudulently obtained by syndicate members.

It followed a six-month investigation by the NDIS fraud taskforce, comprising members of the AFP, NDIA and human services department.

The five were arrested at four homes in western Sydney’s Lurnea and Liverpool this morning and are expected to be charged with fraud and proceeds of crime offences.

A sixth person was to be issued a summons to appear in court at a later date.

Syndicate members were suspected to have applied to register another four entities as NDIS providers to claim payments.

Kylie Boughton