Media statement: Fraud Fusion Taskforce

The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) is leading the delivery of mission critical intelligence for the Fraud Fusion Taskforce including through the establishment and operation of the Fraud Fusion Centre. The Fraud Fusion Taskforce is led by the National Disability Insurance Agency and Services Australia.

Fraud against the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is carried out by entities across a spectrum, with serious and organised criminals at one end, through to individual providers who are acting in a more opportunistic manner to defraud the scheme. The ACIC provides mission critical intelligence to combat the threats Australia faces from transnational serious and organised crime. Serious and organised crime syndicates, including those involved in more traditional organised criminal activity like drug trafficking and money laundering, are engaged in defrauding the NDIS due to the scale of the money that is on offer and the limited barriers to entry.

Based on work by the ACIC and partner agencies both prior to and since the commencement of the Fraud Fusion Taskforce the scale of individual instances of fraud against the NDIS can run into the tens of millions of dollars per criminal syndicate. Understanding the nature and scale of the fraud across the NDIS as a whole, and how to prevent future fraud, are key outcomes of the task force.

There is a myriad of ways that criminals defraud the NDIS and other government payments and programs. Most concerning is that serious and organised crime syndicates are exploiting some of the most vulnerable members of the Australian community, such as participants of the NDIS. These criminals are diverting legitimate funding – intended to purchase the support NDIS participants genuinely need – into their own coffers.

ACIC intelligence shows that serious and organised fraud against the NDIS and other government payments and programs is often linked to other offending, such as illegal phoenix activity, tax evasion and money laundering. Complicit professional facilitators are helping serious and organised crime syndicates to defraud these programs, and preventing payments and assistance reaching those who need it.

As highlighted by recent high-profile data breaches, serious and organised crime syndicates are constantly looking to obtain compromised Personal Identifiable Information (PII) to support their criminal activity. The use of compromised PII to conduct fraud against the NDIS and other government payments and programs is an increasing issue. The task force is supporting wider government efforts to deal with the emerging threat posed by identity crime.

As the Fraud Fusion Taskforce progresses, our understanding of the nature, scale and drivers of fraud against the NDIS will evolve. Stopping these criminal entities and groups from having any role in schemes such as the NDIS, which are in place to support the most vulnerable Australians, is the highest priority of the ACIC within the Fraud Fusion Taskforce.

Matt Rippon

A/g Chief Executive Officer

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission