Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged two men as investigations continue into fraudulent COVID-19 grants and drug supply offences on the state’s Central Coast.
In June 2021, detectives from State Crime Command’s Cybercrime Squad established Strike Force Orielton to investigate an alleged criminal syndicate involved in fraudulent activity and the supply of prohibited drugs.
During the course of the investigation, detectives uncovered multiple alleged frauds against NSW Government COVID-19 related grant schemes.
Following extensive inquiries, strike force detectives executed a search warrant at a home at Mardi from 7am yesterday (Tuesday 19 October 2021).
During the search, detectives seized nearly 2.4kg of cannabis leaf, as well as documentation and electronic devices, which will undergo further forensic examination.
A 30-year-old man was arrested at the Mardi home, while a second man – aged 39 – was arrested after officers attended a home at Wattanobi a short time later.
Both men were taken to Wyong Police Station, where the younger man was charged with 14 offences, including;
- Dishonestly obtain property by deception (x7),
- supply prohibited drug (x5),
- supply prohibited drugs on an ongoing basis, and,
- deal in identification info and use it to commit fraud.
Police will allege in court the man submitted fraudulent COVID-19 ‘JobSaver’ and business grant applications and facilitated fraudulent applications on behalf of others.
It will be further alleged the man supplied prohibited drugs including methylamphetamine (ice) and gamma-Hydroxybutyric (GHB) across the state’s Central Coast in September this year.
He appeared at Wyong Local Court yesterday, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at the same court on Tuesday 2 November 2021.
The older man was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and give false information person or property in danger.
Police will allege in court the man falsely claimed he had tested positive for COVID-19, subsequently forcing the closure of multiple businesses on the state’s Central Coast last month.
He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Wyong Local Court on Wednesday 10 November 2021.
Investigations under Strike Force Orielton are continuing.
Anyone with information that may assist investigators is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence. The public is reminded not to report information via NSW Police social media pages.