A Melbourne man has been charged with an alleged $18,000 welfare payment fraud where stolen identities were used to create fraudulent myGov accounts.
The 34-year-old was arrested following a joint ‘Taskforce Integrity’ investigation by Australian Federal Police and Services Australia.
He fronted the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday charged with six counts of obtaining a financial advantaged by deception.
The maximum penalty for each offence is 10 years jail.
Police will allege the man created several fraudulent myGov accounts using stolen identities to direct payments into bank accounts he controlled between May and November.
The government's JobSeeker payment was approximately $1050 a fortnight until September 24, when it fell to $750 every fortnight.
The man is also said to have used the stolen identities to set up the bank accounts used to deposit the payments, as well as to submit claims for grants like the Covid-19 crisis payment.
Further investigation into the alleged offences is ongoing.
AFP commander Anthony McClement said police and Services Australia were committed to uncovering criminal exploitation of the government’s welfare support packages.
“Despite the impacts of Covid-19, the AFP and its partners continue to work tirelessly to and remain focused on disrupting and charging offenders who are defrauding the public and trying to exploit this pandemic for their own greed,” he said.
“It’s also a timely reminder for Australians to make sure their personal financial details are secure – don’t be an easy target for criminals.
“Set strong passwords and update them regularly, and enable multi-factor authentication when signing into your accounts.”
Services Australia general manager Hank Jongen said the successful investigation was the latest to emerge from Taskforce Integrity, and should serve as a warning to those looking to commit fraud.
“We take our responsibility to make sure people aren’t accessing payments they aren’t entitled to seriously,” he said.
“Our strong relationship with our AFP partners means we’re able to quickly find, investigate and disrupt fraud.”