Strikeforce uncovers drugs and fraud

Cybercrime Squad detectives have charged two men, from Watanobbi and Mardi, as investigations continued into fraudulent COVID-19 grants and drug supply offences.

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 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 on Tuesday, October 19.

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 Watanobbi 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 information 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 Central Coast in September this year.

He appeared at Wyong Local Court on October 19, where he was formally refused bail to reappear at the same court on Tuesday, November 2.

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 Central Coast last month.

He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Wyong Local Court on Wednesday, November 10.

Investigations under Strike Force Orielton are continuing.

NSW Police