A timely reminder from the Department of Defence
A timely reminder from the Department of Defence's Fraud Control and Investigations Branch about reporting changes to your circumstances that may impact your allowances.
SUCCESSFUL PROSECUTION OF FORMER ADF MEMBER – ALLOWANCE FRAUD
Following an investigation into allowance fraud by the Fraud Control and Investigations Branch (FCIB), a former member of the ADF was sentenced in the Toowoomba Magistrates’ Court to six months’ imprisonment and released on a good behaviour bond for two years, with a recognisance of $5000.
The member was also ordered by the court to repay $27,800.
The offender joined the ADF in 2005 and resided in service residences after being classified as member with dependants (MWD). His situation changed in 2007 when his marriage failed coinciding with an overseas deployment.
The marriage break-up was not disclosed to Defence, and at face value the member’s spouse had returned to the marital home. As the member failed to disclose the change in circumstance, his categorisation for rental allowance was not reviewed and he remained as MWD (unaccompanied). Over a number of years the member submitted a number of additional fraudulent applications with respect to that MWD (U) categorisation.
The member began a new relationship and, in 2012, because of an unrelated incident involving his new partner, the member’s personal circumstances were reviewed by his commander. When questioned about his marital status and categorisation for allowances, the member dishonestly claimed he and his wife were in an open relationship and the relationship had only ended weeks earlier.
The matter was initially reported to the ADF Investigative Service, which investigated and identified a potential overpayment of $31,000. During this period, the member discharged from the ADF and the matter was transferred to FCIB to investigate.
The investigation revealed the member dishonestly claimed a number of other allowances including accommodation and utility charges, reunion travel payments and separation allowance.
Despite leaving the ADF, the former member was located and charged with Dishonestly Causing a Loss or Risk of Loss, which resulted in a guilty plea to the relevant offences.
Assistant Secretary Fraud Control Meryl Clarke says cases like this remind personnel of their requirements to advise any changes to circumstances. “It is imperative for members to advise Defence of a change in circumstances in order to avoid repayment and/or prosecution,” she said. “The FCIB commits significant intelligence and resources to detect and respond to behaviour such as that committed by this former member. The consequences are likely to include full repayment of money, possible loss of career and criminal prosecution.”
To discuss any concerns, email Defence.Ethics@ defence.gov.au or check out http://drnet.defence.gov.au/AssociateSecretary/AFCD/FCIB
To report fraud, corruption, or abuse of resources call (02) 6266 4322 or email fraud.investigations@ defence.gov.au
Reports can be made through the Defence Public Interest Disclosure Scheme at 1800 673 502 or Defence.PID@ defence.gov.au