Strike Force Mercury charge total of 50 people over family day care fraud syndicate

Detectives investigating family day care fraud have charged a further 11 people over their alleged role in the criminal syndicate, bringing the total number of people charged to 50.

In July 2018, detectives from the Financial Crimes Squad and Organised Crime Squad established Strike Force Mercury to investigate the coordinated fraudulent activities targeting family day care operations.

The strike force has also been assisted by the Australian Government Department of Education, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC), the NSW Department of Education and NSW Crime Commission.

Police will allege in court that the syndicate fraudulently claimed Commonwealth payments under the Child Care Subsidy schemes.

It will be alleged the syndicate fraudulently claimed at least $3.9 million in payments over a 10-month period.

In May 2019, Strike Force Mercury detectives executed 23 search warrants and charged 17 people.

As part of further inquiries, 22 people were charged in September 2019. They all remain before the courts.

Following further investigations, strike force detectives arrested four women – aged 20, 29, 42 and 48 – about 7am in the Fairfield area on Monday (11 November 2019).

A further four women – aged 31, 39, and two aged 37 – were arrested in the Bankstown area yesterday (Tuesday 12 November 2019).

As part of further inquiries, two women – aged 33 and 45 – were arrested in the Liverpool area and a 28-year-old woman was arrested at Wollongong this morning (Wednesday 13 November 2019).

They were all taken to local police stations and charged with participate in a criminal group.

The 11 women have been granted conditional bail to appear at Liverpool Local Court on Monday 25 November 2019.

Joint investigations under Strike Force Mercury are ongoing.

State Crime Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith, said investigators have now charged 50 people involved in this syndicate.

“We have completely dismantled this syndicate and put the director, facilitators and parents involved in this fraud before the courts,” Acting Assistant Commissioner Smith said.

“Strike Force investigators will now look to target other syndicates exploiting the government’s childcare subsidy scheme that was established to relieve financial pressures of everyday mums and dads.”

Anyone with information in relation to professionally facilitated fraud is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.

Information about family day care fraud can also be provided to the Department of Education on 02 6121 5450 or [email protected]

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