Hardware store fraud at Lake Illawarra

A man will face court today following an investigation into numerous frauds allegedly committed against hardware stores in the Illawarra region.

In April 2020, a hardware store in Warrawong reported a number of fraudulent transactions involving the use of registered Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) and their respective accounts.

Detectives from Lake Illawarra Police commenced inquiries into the circumstances surrounding the frauds.

Following extensive inquiries, a 32-year-old man was arrested on Tuesday 14 April 2020 and charged with three counts of dishonestly obtain property by deception.

He was refused bail and appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Wednesday 15 April 2020, where he was granted conditional bail to re-appear on Wednesday 2 September 2020.

Following further inquiries, a search warrant was executed at a home in Warrawong on Thursday 16 April 2020.

Police allegedly located and seized power and hand tools, prohibited drugs, electronic devices and homewares.

A further two men – aged 27 and 42, and a 26-year-old woman were arrested on Friday 17 April 2020 and taken to Lake Illawarra Police Station.

The younger man and woman were charged with goods suspected stolen in/on premises and participate in criminal group contribute to criminal activity.

The pair were granted strict conditional bail and are due to appear in Port Kembla Local Court on Wednesday 8 July 2020.

The older man was charged with dishonestly obtain property by deception and participate in criminal group contribute to criminal activity.

He was refused bail and appeared in Wollongong Local Court on Saturday 18 April 2020.

Further investigations revealed the 42-year-old man had allegedly defrauded an additional five hardware stores throughout the Illawarra and south-west Sydney throughout April and May.

An additional 15 charges for dishonestly obtaining property by deception were laid against the 42-year-old man.

He was granted conditional bail at court and is due to face Port Kembla Local Court today (Wednesday 3 June 2020).

Police will allege the man defrauded the stores of power tools and other items worth more than $21,000.

Inquiries are continuing.

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