NINE people with links to bikie gangs have been charged following a major investigation into fraudulent claims for federal funding intended for victims of the bushfire disaster.
In August this year, detectives started investigating reports that members of the Rebels OMCG were allegedly involved in obtaining unlawful grant money through a state government scheme.
Across Wednesday and Thursday, officers raided 11 properties across Greater Sydney and the Southern Highlands arresting six men and three women.
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Officers also seized documentation, phones, laptops and electronic storage devices during the searches.
Cash, prescription medication, ecstasy, cannabis, ice and steroids were also seized.
Police will allege that a total of $700,000 in claims were made by the group through the scheme, that resulted in $113,000 worth of grants being issued.
Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow, said the crimes that have allegedly taken place are particularly heinous given the devastation suffered during last year’s fire season.
“The bushfires completely destroyed thousands of homes, schools, community facilities and other critical infrastructure and tragically claimed the lives of 26 people, including three Rural Fire Service volunteers,” Det Supt Critchlow said.
“Sadly, the aftermath of this tragedy was many small businesses were severely affected and the federal government funding was established to provide them some relief.
“Unfortunately, there are segments of society who will choose to use situations such as these to gain personal financial advantage, and not surprisingly on this occasion the alleged offenders have ties to Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs.
“We are extremely pleased these individuals are now before the court and would like to thank Service NSW for their assistance with our investigation,” Det Supt Critchlow said.
The six men, aged between 25 and 32, are all charged with a raft of offences including dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, dishonestly obtain financial vantage by deception and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal as well as drug and weapons offences.
A 26-year-old woman is also facing charges of false misleading material to obtain advantage and knowingly deal with proceeds of crime intent to conceal.
The two other women, aged 25 and 37, are awaiting charges.