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Two charged with defrauding nearly $500k in COVID-19 payments



Two Malaysian nationals have been charged over their alleged roles in a syndicate that fraudulently claimed nearly $500,000 in COVID-19 Disaster Payments.

Police allege the pair are part of a fraud syndicate that advertised on social media they were "agents" that could help people claim COVID-19 Disaster Payments, a lump sum payment from the government for people who couldn't work during the pandemic.

Customers who used the alleged fraud syndicate operating under the guise of "agents" provided identity documents and some paid up to $1000 for the help of making the claims.

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The syndicate allegedly claimed $440,000 in COVID-19 payments from vulnerable Australians during the pandemic.

A search warrant was carried out at Lidcombe earlier this week where a man and woman were arrested and charged.

The 34-year-old woman was charged with dealing in proceeds of crime and allegedly claimed nearly $40,000.

A 27-year-old man was also charged with dealing in proceeds of crime and allegedly gained nearly $18,000.

The pair have been granted bail to appear at court next week.

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Two charged over alleged roles in defrauding COVID-19 Disaster Payments.

Australian Federal Police Commander Chris Woods said the organisation is working "relentlessly" to prosecute anyone trying to "exploit the pandemic for their own greed".

Services Australia General Manager Hank Jongen said these arrests should be a warning for anyone looking to fraud vulnerable people.

"We take fraud very seriously and have a responsibility to prevent people taking advantage of those who are genuinely in need," Jongen said.

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