A police taskforce to hunt down organized crime groups exploiting the National Disability Insurance Scheme will be established by the government in coming weeks, the NDIS Minister says.
- Australia’s criminal intelligence agency believes billions are being defrauded from the NDIS
- Organized crime groups have allegedly infiltrated the disability scheme
- A police taskforce will be established to expose the fraudsters
An investigation by Nine newspapers has alleged members of the Hamzy and Alameddine crime groups in Sydney and other organized criminal gangs have been rorting billions of dollars from the NDIS scheme.
The head of the Criminal Intelligence Commission, Michael Phelan, told Nine newspapers that criminals were systemically “ripping off our most vulnerable people.”
Mr Phelan said there was evidence of criminals creating fake clients, skimming money, exploiting and intimidating clients and using pharmacy employees as “spotters” to find new NDIS clients to target.
NDIS Minister Bill Shorten gave a scathing assessment, as he announced a multi-agency taskforce would be established to track down fraudsters.
“I think they’re literally gutless cowards,” Mr Shorten told Nine this morning.
“They may think they’re tough, some of these organized crime people. They may boast themselves amongst how clever they are.
“The rest of Australia despises this. And what we’re going to do is make sure that the NDIS is only for the people who need it.”
Mr Shorten said he had warned the former government of massive fraud in the scheme.
He said he suspected there was exploitation and coercion by criminal gangs, but also that there may be people unconnected to organized crime who were padding bills and “robbing the scheme”.
The minister said there must be more due diligence on the invoices of people claiming to have provided services.
“It’s a mystery to me why different parts of government don’t talk to each other better … I’m not satisfied there is sufficient communication between the National Disability Insurance Agency, the tax office, policing. It shouldn’t be this way, but it is,” Mr Shorten told ABC Radio.
“And I don’t understand why more hasn’t been done earlier.”
NDIS anti-fraud teams have recovered a small portion of the alleged billions that have been defrauded from the scheme, charging 18 people since 2020 with a total of about $14 million in alleged fraud.