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Bill Shorten lashes NSW and Queensland flood claim frauds as 'scumbags'

The 27,000 ‘scumbags’ researchers have their sights set on flood victims rocked by ‘despicable’ false claims

  • More than 27,000 flood payment requests considered suspicious
  • Secretary of State Bill Shorten labels fraudsters as ‘bastards’
  • Last year, 916 claims investigations resulted in 57 prosecutions
  • Investigating suspected fraud delaying payments to people in real need

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An outraged minister has lashed out at the ‘scumbags’ who are making dodgy claims for flood payments.

More than 27,000 suspicious claims have been made for relief funds for victims of this year’s floods in NSW and Queensland.

Authorities have launched more than 793 investigations into alleged fake disaster relief claims from February to the end of July.

The northern NSW town of Lismore was one of the regions hit by flooding in July, but unfortunately the fraudsters are trying to monetize disaster relief payments intended for real victims

The northern NSW town of Lismore was one of the regions hit by flooding in July, but unfortunately the fraudsters are trying to monetize disaster relief payments intended for real victims

Secretary of State Bill Shorten promised that fraudsters would be caught.

“It’s despicable behavior and the people who do it are bastards,” Mr Shorten said.

“The high number of claims that have been triggered as potentially fraudulent is alarming.

“Services Australia is working around the clock to investigate these claims, and people defrauding taxpayers will be caught and charged.”

The one-off payment of $1000 to flood victims in NSW and Queensland after the February floods has proved particularly tempting for fraudsters.

Public Services Secretary Bill Shorten has labeled those who fraudulently claim flood payments as 'scumbags'

Public Services Secretary Bill Shorten has labeled those who fraudulently claim flood payments as 'scumbags'

Public Services Secretary Bill Shorten has labeled those who fraudulently claim flood payments as ‘scumbags’

About $10.5 million has been withheld from the suspected 27,770 fraudulent claims about the February and July floods.

In July alone, $7 million was kept out of the hands of would-be fraudsters.

In the past year, there have been more than 916 investigations into alleged fraud in natural disaster relief programs, 57 of which have been referred for prosecution, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

More than 27,000 flood relief claims from NSW and Queensland have been flagged as suspicious this year

More than 27,000 flood relief claims from NSW and Queensland have been flagged as suspicious this year

More than 27,000 flood relief claims from NSW and Queensland have been flagged as suspicious this year

Convicted cases include a NSW woman who used 42 stolen identities and 31 fabricated identities to claim payments for the September 2019 NSW bushfires to the Victorian bushfires at the end of that year.

The woman put her ill-gotten gains in 42 bank accounts at nine banks before she was caught.

She was sentenced to 26 months in prison and ordered to repay $86,674.

Another NSW woman was sentenced to four months in prison for giving a false address and providing false images of alleged fire damage in September 2019.

A woman who used stolen identity payments to claim four payments for the same fires in 2019 was sentenced to 14 months in prison and ordered to repay $20,342.

Services Australia has received 3.5 million emergency relief claims this year from flooding in NSW and Queensland

Services Australia has received 3.5 million emergency relief claims this year from flooding in NSW and Queensland

Services Australia has received 3.5 million emergency relief claims this year from flooding in NSW and Queensland

Services Australia received 3.5 million emergency aid claims related to this year’s floods in NSW and Queensland.

The total loss account for the floods in February alone has been estimated at about $4.3 billion.

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