A City Council Manager in Victoria Admits $460,000 Fraud

By AAP
August 18, 2020 Updated: August 18, 2020

A former Melbourne council manager has confessed to pinching nearly half a million dollars from ratepayers in an invoicing scam.

Andrew James Williamson was promoted to infrastructure manager at Frankston City Council in 2016, at the same time as he was submitting false invoices for $460,000 of works that were never done.

The 45-year-old has pleaded guilty to charges of obtaining and attempting to obtain property by deception and misconduct in public office.

In the months before his promotion Williamson met an electrician, hired to do renovation work on the home he shared with his partner.

Williamson was sent a letter of demand for more than $8000 for the work.

Prosecutors told Victoria’s County Court that shortly after receiving that letter Williamson appointed the electrician as an approved supplier and provider for the council.

Between September 2016 and May 2017 Williamson created 24 invoices for the electrician and submitted them to the council for payments totalling $468,870.32.

They claimed to be for work on a boat ramp and creek project.

Another two invoices for $65.530.63 were submitted but not paid.

He admitted he had created the invoices because the electrician was “terrible at doing paperwork and would refuse to help in any way”.

He initially claimed the electrician did the work, but later said they were for work intended to be done.

Prosecutors said Williamson and the electrician agreed on the plan and on how to split the money, and that Williamson had received a cut of more than $346,000.

Williamson initially said he had been working for the electrician at the same time as he worked for the council, and that the payments were unrelated to council work.

He resigned from the council after an internal investigation, and the case was referred to anti-corruption body IBAC.

Williamson will be sentenced at a later date.

Karen Sweeney in Melbourne