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Byron Shire
April 23, 2021

Charges over bushfire-related fraud – South Coast

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Police say a third person has been charged following an investigation into bushfire-related fraud on the state’s South Coast.

In March 2020, detectives from South Coast Police District commenced an investigation into a group of people suspected of fraudulently obtaining bushfire assistance payments from a number of charities.

Following extensive inquiries, police executed search warrants at two homes in Surf Beach on Thursday June 18 and arrested a 47-year-old man and 38-year-old woman. They were charged and remain before the courts.

Following further inquiries, a 45-year-old man was arrested at Batemans Bay Police Station about 10am yesterday (Monday June 22).

He was charged with three counts of dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, three counts of supply prohibited drug and common assault (DV-related).

Police will allege in court that the man attended a disaster recovery centre on three separate occasions in February 2020, claiming to have lost his home and belongings in the Clyde Mountain bushfire. He then received almost $25,000 in emergency grants after making false claims to charitable organisations.

The man was granted conditional bail and is due to face Batemans Bay Local Court on Monday 6 July 2020.

Inquiries are continuing.


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