The Australian Government has shown its commitment to identifying and addressing fraud against the Commonwealth, with the conviction and sentencing of a former employee of a Disability Employment Services (DES) provider.
The Cairns District Court has sentenced a former employee of MAX Solutions – a DES provider – to 18 months imprisonment for dishonestly causing a loss to the Department of Social Services, which administers the DES program. The defendant, to be released after she had served 2 months in custody, will enter into a $1,000 good behaviour bond for a period of 2 years.
Minister for Social Services, Amanda Rishworth said that the Australian Government has a zero tolerance approach to fraud.
“My department works closely with law enforcement and other agencies to detect and address fraud,” Minister Rishworth said.
“We want to ensure that every dollar of taxpayer’s money spent through DES supports those in need.”
The Court heard that in 2017, the former MAX Solutions employee submitted falsified documentation on behalf of her employer for outcomes that were not achieved. This resulted in $2.35 million in fraudulent DES payments being paid to MAX Solutions for services that had not been provided.
Minister Rishworth confirmed the Department of Social Services initially identified irregularities and following its investigation recovered the $2.35 million of defrauded monies. The former employee pled guilty to 24 charges relating to the fraud.
“The message here is clear – providers who defraud DES or any other taxpayer-funded program will be caught,” Minister Rishworth said.
“The DES program is funded to help people with disability, a health condition or injury find and secure employment. We will not allow people to rip money from these vital services and defraud the taxpayer,” Minister Rishworth said.
Anyone with concerns that fraud is being committed against Department of Social Services (DSS) funded programs should contact the DSS Fraud Hotline number on 1800 054 312, or email firstname.lastname@example.org