Mums arrested over massive childcare fraud syndicate

 

Sixteen women have been arrested across southwest Sydney today and are being questioned over their alleged involvement in a massive childcare fraud scheme.

Police are investigating allegations the women were part of a criminal syndicate that claimed federal government childcare subsidies for children attending centres that didn't even exist.

Eight other people - including seven women and one man - were charged on Tuesday. One of those was Lubna Al-Hashing, 41, the partner of alleged syndicate boss Alee Farmann, 49, of Georges Hall.

In May this year 17 people involved in the alleged fraud were arrested. Today's operations follows the establishment of Strike Force Mercury after the initial arrests.

This woman was arrested in Greenacre and taken to Bankstown Police Station as part of today’s operation. Picture: NSW Police
This woman was arrested in Greenacre and taken to Bankstown Police Station as part of today’s operation. Picture: NSW Police

All 17 people charged in May remain before the courts and this week's operations bring the total people arrested by police to more than 40.

It's alleged parents would sign their children up for care at another syndicate member's home while they themselves claimed government subsidies for other children for whom they never provided care.

The special strike force was set up by NSW Police after they uncovered an alleged scheme where parents would sell their children's identities to the syndicate so the claims could be made.

The syndicate allegedly claimed subsidies illegally. Picture: NSW Police
The syndicate allegedly claimed subsidies illegally. Picture: NSW Police

The strike force has been assisted by the Federal Education and Training Department, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, the NSW Education Department and NSW Crime Commission.

A number of legitimate childcare centres were also targeted for allegedy sharing profits from the subsidies the parents were making from their children.

The syndicate unravelled in May when detectives swooped on Farmann.

Police allege Alee Farmann was the leader of the syndicate. Picture: John Grainger
Police allege Alee Farmann was the leader of the syndicate. Picture: John Grainger

At the time police alleged 150 parents signed up to the fake business Red Roses Family Day Care with each falsely claiming federal subsidies for looking after between three and seven children.

The syndicate was alleged to have scammed $3.8 million with one woman found with $35,000 in her handbag when arrested at her south Granville home

Mr Farmann was alleged to have pocketed $60,000 a month.

Police allege the group went to great lengths to look legitimate, keeping photographs of children they claimed were in care and staging fake play areas.

Up to 20 raids were conducted on homes in Sydney as part of the initial operation in May.

Almost 200 NSW daycare centres - some linked to funding for overseas terrorism, bikie gangs and fraud - have been shut down since 2016.

The banned daycare centres - the majority of which are located in southwest Sydney - include those linked to the Fairfield-based Red Roses Family Day Care company.

 

FULL LIST OF SHUT DOWN DAY CARE CENTRES

 

 

Police established a special strike force to investigate. Picture: NSW Police
Police established a special strike force to investigate. Picture: NSW Police

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