Criminals Targeting Virus Support Schemes

July 1, 2020 Updated: July 1, 2020

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has vowed to crack down on organised crime syndicates targeting coronavirus welfare schemes.

Federal police have reportedly frozen more than 50 bank accounts after criminals targeted JobKeeper wage subsidies, the boosted dole and early access to superannuation.

“We’re working to ensure that where there is fraud it’s uncovered and those people face the full force of the law,” Frydenberg told Sky News on July 2.

The government has established a serious financial crimes task force bringing together the Australian Federal Police, the tax office and home affairs.

JobKeeper is the biggest single spend of any welfare program.

“Organised crime is a problem both for the public and private sectors, that’s nothing new, particularly when you’ve got a program of this scale of size,” Frydenberg said.

AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw said busting open superannuation fraud had helped detect other crimes.

“We have restrained assets in relation to fraud against government COVID-19 programs and we will work with other agencies to continue to do so,” he told The Australian.

Matt Coughlan in Canberra