Care provider rorted NDIS out of thousands for services never provided

More than $23,000 in payments from the National Disability Insurance Scheme were fraudulently claimed via a disability services provider in Melbourne’s western suburbs for nursing and domestic support that was never provided.

Ana Boal, a 52-year-old disability support worker from Kurunjang, ran a business called Internal Life Home Care, which was a registered NDIS provider.

Police make arrests as part of Operation Persei.Credit:AFP

But for two months in 2018, Internal Life Home Care claimed more than $23,000 from the NDIS for services that were never provided, including more than $8000 for “support by a nurse”, assistance with domestic activities and specialist support co-ordination.

Banking records show some of the money was transferred to others, but Boal retained a kickback of about $10,000 for herself.

She has pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to one charge of dishonestly causing a risk of loss to a Commonwealth entity.

NDIS Minister Linda Reynolds has warned the scheme faces serious sustainability issues, with expenditure forecast to grow to $40.7 billion within three years, $8.8 billion above estimates.

In a speech in April, opposition NDIS spokesman Bill Shorten warned of the need to address fraud in the scheme.

“Sadly, it is not overstating things to say that in 2021 the NDIS has the front door padlocked to the genuinely needy and the back door wide open for crooks and profiteers,” he said.

Boal was arrested as part of Operation Persei, launched by the Australian Federal Police in 2018 to infiltrate a suspected web of scammers.

Her lawyer said she was introduced to the offending by an alleged co-offender, who is yet to enter a plea in court.

Operation Persei was launched by the Australian Federal Police in 2018 to infiltrate a suspected web of scammers.Credit:AFP

The alleged co-offender also operated a business registered with the NDIS but it was approved to provide transportation services only.

The court heard Boal agreed to allow the alleged co-offender to submit fraudulent claims worth $23,555 through Internal Life Home Care, for services that had not been provided.

Meanwhile, Caroline Semisi, a family day care educator from Meadow Heights, and Asha Mohamed, a nanny and cleaner from Coburg, submitted false claims for Commonwealth childcare subsidies.

Semisi received more than $29,000 for falsely claiming she had cared for seven children in 2018 and 2019, including those belonging to the alleged co-offender.

According to bank records and her own admissions, she retained about $14,000, which she used for everyday expenses, and transferred some to the alleged co-offender as a kickback for assistance in making the claims.

Mohamed claimed almost $13,000 for caring for the alleged co-offender’s children at a home in Altona. In fact, she had worked as a nanny and cleaner in the alleged co-offender’s home. In-home care is subsidised by the Commonwealth only in special circumstances, which did not apply.

Semisi pleaded guilty to three charges of dishonestly causing a loss to a Commonwealth entity and Mohamed to one charge.

All three will be sentenced in August.

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