LOCKED ON: Taskforce Integrity will clamp down on welfare cheats in Coffs Harbour.
LOCKED ON: Taskforce Integrity will clamp down on welfare cheats in Coffs Harbour. Lauren Smit

Task force targets Coffs welfare cheats

COFFS Harbour is in the sites of Taskforce Integrity as it cracks down on welfare cheats.

The special joint task force teamed up the Australian Federal Police and Department of Human Services in a bid to eliminate cases where welfare beneficiaries are deliberately lying about their circumstances.

Minister for Human Services Alan Tudge said the Taskforce Integrity was focused on identifying those in the Coffs Harbour community who intentionally defrauded the system.

"Taskforce Integrity uses advanced technology to identify customers who intentionally declare no income or less than they earn, along with other types of welfare fraud in the Coffs Harbour area," he said.

"People who cheat the welfare system are committing a serious offence and there are serious consequences, which can include prosecution and even a prison sentence."

The task force will educate the community about welfare fraud and how to update their details this Thursday and Friday at Coffs Harbour Service Centre on Duke St and Toormina Gardens on Toormina Rd.

Since July 2015 the task force has targeted high risk areas around the country and uncovered $21.3 million in debt owed to the Commonwealth.

More than 180 cases of potential welfare fraud cases were uncovered and are under investigation, 33 of which were referred to the Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions.

Mr Tudge urged anyone who suspected someone of committing fraud to notify the task force. You can also report suspected fraud at humanservices.gov.au/fraud or by phoning 131524.



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