19 June 2020

Two arrested and charged for alleged bushfire relief fraud at Surf Beach

| Sharon Kelley
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NSW police arresting a man at Surf Beach.

Two people were arrested at Surf Beach on Thursday, 18 June, and have been charged with alleged fraud relating to bushfire relief. Photo: NSW Police.

Two people have been charged following an investigation into alleged bushfire-relief fraud on the NSW South Coast.

Officers from the NSW South Coast Police District arrested the pair and took them to Batemans Bay Police Station after executing two search warrants at homes in Surf Beach on the morning of Thursday, 18 June.

A 38-year-old woman was charged with five counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, and the 47-year-old man was charged with two counts of dishonesty obtaining financial advantage by deception.

NSW Police arresting a woman at Surf Beach.

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

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 two search warrants at homes in Surf Beach at about 8 am on Thursday, 18 June, and seized documents for examination.

Police allege the group claimed in excess of $10,000 from charities and made further attempts to claim an additional $20,000.

South Coast Police District crime manager, Detective Inspector Scott Nelson, said the arrests are the culmination of diligent work by local police.

“Our South Coast community has been devastated in recent months and this type of crime – preying on vulnerable members of the community and abusing the goodwill of others – is absolutely abhorrent,” he said.

“We will continue to investigate bushfire-related crime and take action against those who choose to do the wrong thing.”

Both individuals were refused bail and are due to face Wollongong Local Court via video link today.

Investigations are continuing.

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