An Illawarra man has been charged with fraud after allegedly claiming he had COVID-19 to avoid going to work.
About 4.15am on Monday (2 August 2021), the 23-year-old allegedly sent a text message to his employer, stating he had contracted COVID-19 and was unable to go to work in Newcastle.
His co-workers were stood down and self-isolated while awaiting their test results, and several locations near his place of employment required deep cleaning.
Later that day, the man allegedly sent another text to his employer advising his second test returned a negative result.
Subsequent inquiries confirmed the man never received a positive test result.
The matter was referred to the NSW Police Force, with officers attached to Wollongong Police District commencing an investigation.
About 1pm yesterday (Thursday 5 August 2021), the man attended Wollongong Police Station, where he was arrested and charged with conveying false information that a person or property is in danger.
The West Wollongong man was granted bail to appear at Wollongong Local Court on Tuesday 14 September 2021.
Anyone who has information regarding individuals or businesses in contravention of a COVID-19-related ministerial direction is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.