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The Director of Public Prosecutions (Cth) Raelene Sharp KC confirmed that on 1 June 2024, Warren Day will join the CDPP on secondment for 6 months, as the Director’s Executive Officer. 

On 5 March 2024, CDPP staff acknowledged the 40 year anniversary of the Office being established.

The CDPP’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2024-26 is now available.

The CDPP has launched a range of branded cultural elements which were designed by

Federal Attorney-General, the Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP, today announced the appointment of Ms Raelene Sharp KC as the next Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.
The CDPP 2022-23 Annual Report was tabled in Parliament on 18 October 2023.

The CDPP’s Corporate Plan 2023–27 is now available.

The 2021-22 CDPP Annual Report was tabled in Parliament on Friday 28 October 20

The CDPP recently received an overall satisfaction score of 86 per cent from its biennial 2022 Partner Agency Survey.

The CDPP's 2022-26 Corporate Plan is now available.

The Attorney-General of New South Wales today announced the appointment of Ms Sarah McNaughton SC as a judge of the Supreme Court of NSW. 

The CDPP’s Library and Research Services team has won the 2022 Legal Information Service of the Year award announced at the Australian Law Librarians’ Association (ALLA) conference in Hobart on Thursday 26 August.

On 7 July 2022 the Commonwealth Attorney-General, the Honourable Mark Dreyfus QC MP, announced he had declined to proceed further in the prosecution of Mr Bernard Collaery for five offences relating to the alleged unlawful communication of ASIS information contrary to the Intelligence Ser

CDPP successfully prosecutes fraudulent claims for Queensland disaster relief payments

Year
2024
Location
Queensland

Date of Judgment: 21 December 2023

Court: District Court of Queensland

Partner Agency: Services Australia

On 8 December 2020, Mr Henery Baranaba Nghath of Redbank QLD, was charged with 5 offences of defrauding the Commonwealth of $94,777.82 by fraudulently claiming disaster recovery payments. 

His offending included 3 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception contrary to s134.2(1) Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth), one count of attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception contrary to sections 134.2(1) and 11.1 and one count of possession of identification information contrary to s372.1(1).

On 21 December 2023 in the Brisbane District Court, Mr Nghath pleaded guilty to all five charges and was sentenced of 4 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 21 monthsThe court also made a reparation order for the outstanding debt of $93,641.10.

Background

The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) was introduced to help those in genuine need after an emergency. The assistance is made up of a one-off payment to Australian residents and an additional amount for each dependent child, per disaster. Fraudulent payment claims mean reduced funds available for other legitimate claims of support.

The matter

Between 11 May 2017 and 16 May 2019, Mr Nghath, by deception, dishonestly obtained a financial advantage of $94,777.82 from Services Australia (Centrelink), comprising 116 payments of either social security benefits paid in relation to fraudulent claims for AGDRP, or redirected payments of legitimate benefits in relation to other recipients. 

To enable the payments from these claims, Mr Nghath opened 26 separate bank accounts in false names to facilitate the obtaining of the benefits. Between 10 February 2019 and 16 May 2019, Mr Nghath also attempted to obtain a financial advantage of $55,000 by submitting fraudulent claims for AGDRP – which were not paid.

Mr Nghath created 66 false identities and assumed the identities of 17 existing Centrelink recipients to submit the fraudulent AGDRP claims. He also assumed the identities of 11 existing Centrelink recipients for the redirected payments.

At the time of the Mr Nghath’s arrest on 17 May 2019, he was found in possession of 289 items of identification information in the names of identities other than his own. These identification documents were obtained through his employment at Sunshine Coast College of Management. In this position he had access to student and enrollment information. It was a serious breach of trust. 

The offending in this matter was particularly serious compared to other matters with similar benefit amounts obtained, as Mr Nghath through planning and the acquisition of identity documents was able to redirect payments and open numerous false bank accounts. He also kept meticulous records of the information used in the commission of the offences. This modus operandi ensured he was able to make frequent claims over a prolonged period. 

The CDPP, Services Australia, AFP and other partner agencies work together through the Fraud Fusion Taskforce to investigate and prosecute this type of fraud against the community. The successful prosecution of this matter is a testament to the continued strong collaboration of the CDPP, Services Australia, Queensland Police and the AFP.

Sentencing

Count 1, 2 and 3: Obtaining a financial advantage by deception pursuant to s134.2(1) Criminal Code (Cth) carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $108,000 or $126,000.

Count 4: Attempting to obtain a financial advantage by deception pursuant to subsections 134.2(1) and 11.1 of the Criminal Code (Cth) carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $126,000.

Count 5: Possession of identification information pursuant to s372.2(1) Criminal Code (Cth) carries a maximum penalty of 3 years imprisonment and/or a fine of $37,800.

The CDPP submitted that Mr Nghath’s offending was serious. It involved a large amount of money, numerous identities, both false and assumed from real persons, a significant number of fraudulent claims and 26 bank accounts opened under false names to receive and access the monies, over a period of about 2 years. It was these factors that supported the CDPP’s submission at sentence that the sophistication of this offending placed this matter above comparable matters and a sentence of imprisonment with a non-parole period was the only appropriate penalty.

Her Honour Judge Rosengren imposed a total effective sentence of 4 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 21 months. The court also made a reparation order for the outstanding debt being $93,641.10.

In sentencing Mr Nghath, Judge Rosengren said, “It is not just the quantum but also the exploitation of victims’ personal information and the creation of a large number of false identities. Had it not been for your arrest, one might think that you were likely to continue. There were two fraudulent claims the day before you were arrested. You were in possession of nearly 300 identification documents. You had managed to get hold of these through your work … You had a student database on your laptop. You had scanned the 35 spreadsheets and the identity documents relevant to the students. This was clearly an abuse of access to student information and a serious abuse of trust. You took advantage of government assistance designed to help those in need.”