23 June 2020

Third person charged with alleged bushfire-related charity fraud

| Sharon Kelley
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Following two arrests and charges laid last week, a third person has been charged with alleged fraud relating to bushfire charity relief. Photo: File.

A third person has been charged following an investigation into alleged bushfire-related fraud on the NSW South Coast.

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

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

A suspect being arrested by NSW Police at Surf Beach.

A 38-year-old woman and a 47-year-old man were arrested at Surf Beach on 18 June. Photo: NSW Police.

Yesterday, police arrested a 45-year-old man at Batemans Bay Police Station following further inquiries. The man was charged with three counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, three counts of supplying a prohibited drug, and a charge of domestic violence-related common assault.

Police will allege in court that the man went to a disaster recovery centre on three separate occasions in February this year, where he claimed to have lost his home and belongings in the Clyde Mountain bushfire. He received almost $25,000 in emergency grants after allegedly making the 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.

Police inquiries are continuing.

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