AFP freeze $7.8 million linked to Finance dept IT fraud

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AFP freeze $7.8 million linked to Finance dept IT fraud

Trio alleged to have used funds for renovations.

Three public servants alleged to have defrauded the federal government by directing IT contracts through preferred suppliers have had $7.8 million in assets frozen.

The Australian Federal Police on Wednesday said seven houses, as well as motor vehicles and bank accounts, had been restrained by the Criminal Assets Confiscation Taskforce (CACT).

The three men were arrested and charged last month for allegedly directing IT contracts through preferred suppliers and taking kickbacks.

The arrests followed a year-long investigation by the AFP’s Northern Command’s Fraud and Anti-Corruption Team, which was first alerted to the activity by the Department of Finance in July 2019.

Two of the men, a 47-year-old Griffith man and a 50-year-old Palmerston man, have been charged with two offences: conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth and abuse of public office.

The third man, a 36-year-old Barton man, has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth.

Defrauding the Commonwealth carries a maximum sentence of 10 years jail, while the charge of abuse of office carries a maximum penalty of five years.

According to the ABC, the three men were released on bail under strict conditions, including an agreement to pay $25,000 if they fail to appear in court, after facing the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra for the first time last month

In a statement on Wednesday, the AFP said the $7.8 million in assets had been restrained as some of the kickbacks had allegedly been “used to purchase and renovate residential properties in Canberra”.

The CACT will allege the men conspired to direct IT contracts through preferred suppliers, and then received financial benefits as a result of this activity, some of which was then used to purchase and renovate residential properties in Canberra,” it said.

The CACT includes staff from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, AUSTRAC, The Australian Taxation Office and the Australian Border Force.

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