IBAC hearings-Nino Napoli

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Education department chief Nino Napoli, who allegedly ran a corrupt multimillion-dollar scheme that stole school funds, has been sacked.

Education department chief Nino Napoli, who allegedly ran a corrupt multimillion-dollar scheme that stole school funds, has been sacked.

Listen to these 2 greedy pigs being covertly recorded whilst having a coffee as the hearings take place trying to cover their asses http://goo.gl/VeKDzh

An IBAC inquiry heard secretly recorded conversations between John Allman and Nino Napoli.

An IBAC inquiry heard secretly recorded conversations between John Allman and Nino Napoli.

IBAC hearings continue to expose the greedy culture of Dept of Education fat cats stealing education funds for their own purposes. Classic slush fund and a disgrace. They lie and lie right till the very end. pathetic, every one of them will find themselves on the top of this page during the 6 week hearing. Your careers are ruined.


UPDATE 27/05/15

We were even paying for this scum bag NINO NAPOLI’s pathetic hair pieces…

IBAC: Sacked Education Department executive asked for money for hair treatment, hearing told

Victoria’s anti-corruption commission has heard that sacked Education Department executive Nino Napoli asked for several thousand dollars for hair treatment to be transferred from a company run by his cousins.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption (IBAC) inquiry is investigating the misuse of thousands of dollars of Victorian Education Department money.

Luigi Squillacioti was a director of three companies allegedly used by Mr Napoli to divert departmental funds.

Testifying at the hearing today, Mr Squillacioti was asked about a payment he made for Mr Napoli for hair.

The counsel assisting, Ian Hill QC asked him “if ‘hair’ was code for something else?”

“He wears a toupe, you must realise that,” Mr Squillacioti replied.

Mr Squillacioti has denied any knowledge of illicit payments made to the companies he ran with his brother Carlo.

The hearing was also told that Mr Napoli was worried that he would go to jail in a conversation recorded a day after investigators searched his cousins’ car repair shop last year.

Audio of the conversations between Mr Napoli and his cousins Carlo and Luigi Squillacioti from last year was played to the hearing.

Those conversations revealed Mr Napoli’s concerns about spreadsheets from numerous companies set up by the Squillaciotis, who ran Cobra Motors in Sunshine North.



Department of Education funds used to pay for the credit card of Nino Napoli’s wife, inquiry told

May 26, 2015 – 6:23PM

Sacked Education Department official Nino Napoli hid documents in his mother's roof in the wake of an anti-corruption investigation, an inquiry has heard.Sacked Education Department official Nino Napoli hid documents in his mother’s roof in the wake of an anti-corruption investigation, an inquiry has heard.

Overseas trips and credit card bills of the wives of former Victorian Education Department executives were covered by the department, a corruption commission heard.

The Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission heard the department’s sacked finance chief Nino Napoli asked his brother-in-law Ralph Barba, director of Four Diegos, to inflate an invoice made out to the department by up to $9500 to cover the travel and accommodation costs for the wife of former deputy secretary Jeff Rosewarne in 2009.

Mr Barba said he was told Mr Rosewarne’s personal life was in “turmoil” and “he needed to take his wife overseas with him to try make things better”.

The original $15,241 invoice was in support of Mr Barba’s proposal to link sporting programs at disadvantaged schools with the Manchester United Football Club and the David Beckham Academy.

Mr Barba said he was “shocked” by what Mr Napoli asked him to do, but agreed to falsify the invoice, calling the decision the “biggest mistake of my life”.

It was heard 18 months later, when the commission launched its investigation, Mr Rosewarne asked Mr Barba to pretend that the added sum was actually a personal loan to Mr Rosewarne which would was being repaid.

It was also heard that Mr Napoli asked Mr Barba to pay $6000 for his wife’s trip – a sum he repaid through a distant cousin Daniel Calleja, who ran a company Innovating Visuals, which received tens of thousands of dollars in allegedly false invoices from Victorian schools between 2007-14.

Earlier in the day, the corruption watchdog heard that nearly $5000 of department funds was used to pay off the credit card belonging to Mr Napoli’s wife, Josephine.

In 2010, an amount of $4950 was transferred by the department for printing work to businesses owned by Mr Napoli’s relatives, and then transferred into the account of a company owned by Napoli himself. It was subsequently used to pay off his wife’s credit card, it was heard.

Mr Barba said he was “sickened” by the alleged racket and “felt he was taken advantage of”.

In a recording played to the commission, he said there were two types of people caught up in Mr Napoli’s alleged scheme – those such as himself, who were “dragged” into the scheme and did not benefit from it, and those who “had plenty of time to reflect on what they were doing” and would receive financial benefits.

Earlier in the day, the commission  heard that Nino Napoli was “uncomfortable” with the department paying companies owned by people sharing his surname, so cousins with a different surname would invoice the department directly for work performed by and paid to his brother, Robert Napoli.

Nino Napoli got a cut of the profit made from this work, the anti-corruption commission heard.

It was also heard that he hid documents in his mother’s roof in wake of the commission’s  investigation as he was “scared” of what the investigators would find.

Under investigation are claimed that 17 companies linked to Nino Napoli and nine of his relatives received more than $2.5 million from Victorian schools between 2007 and 2014.

A senior Victorian Education Department official has been sacked after giving evidence to the IBAC.

A SENIOR Victorian Education Department official, who tore up school records in a panicked fit of rage when he realised the corruption watchdog was sniffing around, has been sacked.

REGIONAL director for the state’s southeast John Allman was axed hours after admitting to dumping the torn documents from “banker” school Silverton Primary School in a Bunnings bin last year.

“I did that in a fit of rage, upset and trauma after the IBAC visit to my home,” he told the Independent Broad-Based Anti-corruption Commission on Wednesday.

Mr Allman is the second scalp claimed by IBAC’s inquiry after the sacking of education department chief Nino Napoli, announced on Monday, a former financial management general manager who also allegedly scrambled to hide what he had done.
Mr Napoli’s son Raffaele told the hearing on Wednesday his father asked him to lie about $75,000 that had trickled into his bank account as “wages” from his aunt’s business from 2007 to 2011.
IBAC is looking at claims 17 companies linked to Mr Napoli and nine of his relatives received more than $2.5 million from Victorian schools between 2007 and 2014.
The investigation has heard some senior staff organised for bills for parties, wine and other items to be sent to the “banker” schools. The so-called banker schools would pay invoices for items they did not receive. Mr Allman, who said the banker school concept was never legitimate, confirmed Mr Napoli transferred money at his request – hundreds of thousands of dollars over time – from central department funds to Silverton Primary School in an attempt to hide it from “government processes”.
He denied using it for personal gain, stating the money was used for school or department-related projects or functions. The hearing continues.

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6pm 29/04/15

Senior Victorian Education Department official John Allman has been sacked after he admitted destroying financial documents because he had something to hide from an anti-corruption investigation.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is holding an inquiry into alleged corruption and misuse of school funding within the state’s education department.

Mr Allman, who was until today the department’s director for south-east Victoria, told the inquiry he destroyed documents detailing financial transactions with the Silverton Primary School at Noble Park, and disposed of the ripped documents into a bin at a Bunnings store.

Mr Allman said he destroyed the documents after eight IBAC officers visited him with a warrant to search his home.

2015-04-29_20-36-21

Nino C. Napoli a professional at Department of Education has been selected for inclusion in the Cambridge Who’s Who network.

Earlier Mr Allman had been asked if he had discussed the IBAC investigation with the now-sacked director of school resources, Nino Napoli.

On Monday the hearing was told Mr Napoli allegedly funnelled millions of dollars meant for schools through a web of family-linked businesses.

Counsel assisting IBAC Ian Hill QC asked Mr Allman, “Did you ask Mr Napoli not to make mention of Silverton Primary School?”

Mr Allman replied, “No, I don’t have any memory of such a conversation.”

The hearing was then played an audio recording of a conversation between Mr Napoli and Mr Allman.

Mr Allman was clearly heard saying, “Mate, nothing’s come up at Silverton so don’t fucking mention that.”

‘I went into a panic’ after visit from IBAC

Under questioning, Mr Allman admitted Silverton Primary School was his banker school and hundreds of thousands of dollars had been transferred to the primary school for discretionary spending.

The so-called banker schools system has been described as a “slush fund” for the discretionary spending of department executives.

He said he kept documents detailing the transactions with Silverton Primary at his home but he could not find the file.

Mr Hill said “We’d like to look at it Mr Allman, but you can’t tell us where it is.”

I did have something to hide. The banker school arrangement has never been a legitimate practice of the education department.

John Allman, former Education Department regional director

Mr Allman then admitted destroying documents.

“I did throw out a lot of documents after the IBAC visit.” Mr Allman replied.

“I thought it was better for me not to have any such documents in my possession.

“I went into somewhat of a panic after eight IBAC officers visited my home. I destroyed the documents.

“I did have something to hide. The banker school arrangement has never been a legitimate practice of the education department, so I did have something to hide.”

Principal suspended over wine purchase claims

Yesterday it emerged the former acting secretary of the Victorian Department of Education, Jeff Rosewarne, used funds to purchase two coffee machines, $7,000 worth of Italian wine and pay for an overseas trip with his wife and Mr Napoli.

The hearing was told the wine was paid for by Chandler Park Primary School, and bought from the son of the school’s principal, Peter Paul.

The Education Department said it had now suspended Mr Paul following the allegations.

“We are deeply concerned about what we heard at IBAC over the past two days,” a department spokesman said.

“Peter Paul has been suspended while the department fully investigates his conduct.

“Once our investigation is complete, we will be in a position to take any action that may be appropriate.”

The hearing is expected to last six weeks.

From other news sites:

April 27, 2015

Belle Gibson’s publisher has pulled her book from Australian shelves following accusations she faked her terminal brain cancer.


I SO WANTED TO LEAVE THIS BUT This saga keeps changing, there is no doubt now she faked much of her claims. The once award-winning young ladies life has come crashing down.

WE all fall from grace at one time or another in our life but this was of an epic scale, and the worst of the worst for cancer sufferers and survivors as well as supporters and family of those who are gone from our lives. her silence is deafening, but I hope other media come out as have Fairfax Media to state they have not paid anyone for any info on this story

(Which has been a big part of Belle’s rants since it broke. Saying others are making money off her now! )

Health blogger and app developer Belle Gibson hits back at ‘bullying’ critics
March 16, 2015 – 5:34AM

Allison Worral

Belle Gibson, creator of the app The Whole PantryBelle Gibson, creator of the app The Whole Pantry Photo: Jeffrey Glorfeld

Belle Gibson, the popular health blogger accused of falsely claiming to have cancer, has blasted her critics for speaking out against her.

Breaking her recent social media silence, Ms Gibson lashed out at former friends and acquaintances who had publicly doubted her claims of being ill, telling them to “make yourself invisible to me”.

The 23-year-old Melbourne woman founded health and wellbeing app The Whole Pantry, which has been under close scrutiny after it was revealed many of the charities the organisation had promised to donate to had not received any money.

Belle Gibson's book based around her The Whole Pantry app.

Belle Gibson’s book based around her The Whole Pantry app.

The Whole Pantry app, along with a Penguin book of the same name, promoted healthy living and Ms Gibson boasted natural foods and alternative therapies had fought off the multiple cancers she claimed to suffer.

But serious questions have been raised over the entrepreneur’s claims of surviving terminal brain cancer without treatment, as well as being diagnosed with four other types of cancer.

Former friends and work colleagues have accused Ms Gibson of lying about the extent of her illness, with some suggesting she may not have cancer at all.

On Friday night Ms Gibson hit back in a rambling Facebook post, sarcastically encouraging her followers to speak to the media if they needed to because “it says more about you, and your priorities than me or the story you’ll get paid to tell”.

Ms Gibson, who wrote of being “bullied to my death”, went on to defend the work of The Whole Pantry.

“…I know the work my company and it’s [sic] contents did changed hundreds of thousands for the better,” she wrote.

In another post she said those who had spoken publicly about her were “knowingly contributing to the blatant attacking and bullying of myself and my family”.

The Melbourne mother did not disprove claims she had lied about or exaggerated having cancer but promised an “open letter” was on its way.

Ms Gibson’s latest comments, posted under a Facebook alias, follow the recent removal of thousands of posts on her social media accounts.

Fairfax Media has not paid anyone for information about Belle Gibson


Whole Pantry cookbook PULLED from the shelves by Penguin after publisher casts doubt on health guru Belle Gibson’s brain cancer survival story

  • Penguin Books have decided to pull her book from Australian shelves
  • Blogger Belle Gibson, 23, is accused of faking her terminal brain cancer
  • She claimed eating well and using a natural approach to life saved her
  • Ms Gibson launched successfully popular The Whole Pantry app and book
  • More than 300,000 angry fans and customers have demanded a refund
  • They have taken to the company’s Facebook page to make a stand 
  • Her friends raised doubts about her survival story and charity donations
  • Former school mates have labelled the 23-year-old as a ‘drama queen’ 

Belle Gibson’s publisher has pulled her book from Australian shelves following accusations she faked her terminal brain cancer.

Penguin Books – who publishes Ms Gibson’s The Whole Pantry recipe book – shared the news with Daily Mail Australia via an email statement on Monday.

The book was written in conjunction with her hugely successful app of the same name, which focuses on health, wellness and lifestyle.

Australian blogger Belle Gibson (seen, left, with a bottle of champagne) has hit out at those who have accused her survival story of being fake

Clean-living Belle Gibson, seen here with a pint in her hand, told the friends who have spoken out about her to ‘make yourself invisible to me, and my life’

‘Despite our best endeavours, Penguin Books has not received sufficient explanation from Ms Gibson, author of The Whole Pantry recipe book, in response to recent allegations,’ the publisher said.

‘As such, we have been left with no other option but to stop supplying the book in Australia.

‘We remain hopeful that we will receive the formal assurances we have requested in the coming days.’

This follows Ms Gibson hitting back at the friends who have spoken publicly about her as old photos emerged of her enjoying alcohol.

In a long Facebook post, the Australian blogger told those who have spoken out about her to ‘make yourself invisible to me, and my life.’

The health fanatic shot to social media fame after claiming she had managed to ward off a terminal brain cancer diagnosis simply through eating well and using a natural and holistic approach to life.

Young mum: Close friends told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday that Ms Gibson may have departed Australia for the United States this week

Back in July 2013, Ms Gibson posted on The Whole Pantry Facebook page about her ‘severe and malignant brain cancer’

Ms Gibson gave hope to cancer sufferers worldwide after she revealed that she had prolonged her life despite shunning conventional medical treatment and relying on her own ‘whole life’ concept.

But after doubt was cast over her claims, the Sydney Morning Herald reported she wrote to her friends on Facebook this weekend: ‘You are knowingly contributing to the blatant attacking and bullying of myself and my family.’

‘You’re not making the world an any (sic) better place by choosing to become part of the latest media snowball, remember that.’

Meanwhile, photos have emerged on Facebook of Ms Gibson holding a bottle of champagne to her mouth and sipping on a pint of beer before she became a clean-living star.

Social media users attempting to ‘expose’ Ms Gibson have begun posting images and old claims about her cancer on Facebook.

On Friday, she stood by her projects, writing: ‘…I know the work my company and it’s [sic] contents did changed hundreds of thousands for the better.’

On the same day, thousands of angry customers who bought healthy living app and book The Whole Pantry are demanding their money back after finding out founder Ms Gibson’s cancer story could be false.

Taking to The Whole Pantry’s Facebook page, some of the 300,000 people who downloaded the app have called for their money to be refunded and have slammed the mother-of-one for misleading her followers.

‘Lies, Lies and more Lies. I demand a refund,’ one unhappy customer said.

‘What kind of person fakes illnesses for attention. She has mental health issues and needs help. It scares me to think how many people have died following her natural therapy cancer treatment diet/lifestyle. Disgusting,’ another Facebook commenter said.

Ms Gibson has deleted thousands of photos and social media posts which directly reference her multiple cancer diagnoses, but an example of them – seen by Daily Mail Australia – can be found below:

Back in July 2013, Ms Gibson posted on The Whole Pantry Facebook page: ‘It’s unfortunate that there is someone on my Instagram trying to discredit the natural healing path I am on.’

She went on to say: ‘As always, with everything, this is my journey and I encourage you to do what is best for your body and situation with love and an open mind.

‘I have been healing a severe and malignant brain cancer for the past few years with natural medicine, gerson therapy and foods.

‘It’s working for me and I am grateful to be here sharing this journey with over 70,000 people worldwide. Thank you for being here – xx Belle.’

In a reference to her liver cancer, she posted on Instagram under her account @healing_belle, a photo of a pink smoothie enriched with ‘extra support’.

‘This one is for my rash (thanks, liver cancer), inflammation (thanks flying) and for general immunity.’

In another Instagram post she wrote: ‘Going from 6 weeks to live, to celebrating my fourth year with brain cancer, I know now that respecting your own journey and intuitively healing, listening and living as YOUR body, mind and path intended is staple.’

In July 2014, she broke the news of further illness to her followers through an impassioned post to her personal Instagram page.

It read in part: ‘With frustration and ache in my heart // my beautiful, gamechanging community, it hurts me to find space tonight to let you all know with love and strength that I’ve been diagnosed with a third and fourth cancer.

‘One is secondary and the other is primary. I have cancer in my blood, spleen, brain, uterus, and liver. I am hurting,’ Ms Gibson wrote.

About 12 weeks after the initial post she followed up, revealing she was undergoing ‘German integrative oncology protocol’.

The Whole Pantry (pictured above, in cookbook form) is also a popular app, which costs $3.79 to download. The app is slated to appear on the new Apple Watch

The Whole Pantry (pictured above, in cookbook form) is also a popular app, which costs $3.79 to download. The app is slated to appear on the new Apple Watch

The Whole Pantry founder's stories are being questioned as people demand answers from the health guru

The Whole Pantry founder’s stories are being questioned as people demand answers from the health guru

Many others called for the entrepreneur to face up to her lies and do the right thing. Questions have also been raised about her donations to charity.

She told her social media followers last year her brain cancer had spread to her blood, liver, spleen, uterus and that she did not expect to survive.

It has been reported that Ms Gibson has met with lawyers to fight the claims her story is fake.

School friends of the under-fire Whole Pantry founder now query whether the health guru invented stories ‘to get sympathy’ and have told how she warned people against vaccination while she was in high school.

Ms Gibson attended Wynnum State High School in Brisbane and former classmates describe the health guru as a ‘drama queen’ who constantly reinvented herself and backed medical cannabis. 

Former school friend Chris Green said Ms Gibson was ‘a drama queen. There was always something going on with her.’

‘At one stage she was an emo, then a skater girl then she was a surfer chick; she was always something different,’ Mr Green told The Courier Mail.

Mr Green also said that Ms Gibson never mentioned an autistic brother or a mother with multiple sclerosis, who she had previously claimed to be a carer for.

One anonymous school friend said that Ms Gibson would often post information advocating against vaccinations and pushed the viewpoint quite hard.

Former classmate Meg Weier said that Ms Gibson was quite strange.

Doting mother: Ms Gibson, pictured with another friend, founded the popular app and cookbook Whole Pantry

In another Instagram post she wrote: 'Going from 6 weeks to live, to celebrating my fourth year with brain cancer'

In another Instagram post she wrote: ‘Going from 6 weeks to live, to celebrating my fourth year with brain cancer’

Young mother: Ms Gibson, the mother of Olivier (pictured) has established a successful business in Whole Pantry

Young mother: Ms Gibson, the mother of Olivier (pictured) has established a successful business in Whole Pantry

Jayme Smith (pictured left, with her two children) met Belle Gibson online and maintained a friendship over social media until they had a falling out

Friends close to the mum-of-one have said that she may have gone overseas to avoid confronting claims that her remarkable cancer survival story is not all it seems.

Another former friend of Ms Gibson has called on her to ‘come clean’ on her ‘misdiagnosis’.

Mother-of-two Jayne Smith, 28, from Sydney, became a confidant of Ms Gibson’s after they met on a parenting discussion page on Facebook around 2010.

They forged an online friendship and confided over their experiences with cancer – Ms Smith having lost her mother to lung cancer in 2003 and Ms Gibson saying she had brain cancer.

BY THE NUMBERS: THE WHOLE PANTRY

  • Over 300,000 people have downloaded the app since its release 
  • The company failed to donate $300,000 that was promised to charities
  • The app costs $3.79AUD in Australia
  • Last year it was announced the app will be presented on the Apple Watch, which will come out on April 24, 2015 in Australia

Ms Smith told Daily Mail Australia she was ‘baffled’ when reports emerged this week where friends raised doubts about Ms Gibson’s medical diagnoses and charity donations.

‘I am just so shocked and I feel betrayed, that we all fell so hard for the illusion that she created,’ Ms Smith said.

‘It has hit all of us, who I know, (who) also know Belle, like a tonne of bricks.’

‘We only knew her online, but we all believed to a point that she was a genuine pioneer, who was surviving aggressive cancer.

‘Belle and I talked quite a bit about my feelings about (cancer), how she could empathise with me, the feelings I felt about my mother dying and how I’d wished I was more responsible when it happened, that I’d wished I had tried to explore more ideas, like Belle did.’

Ms Smith said Ms Gibson ‘pushed’ – and nearly convinced her – not to vaccinate her children, but that she did not blame her for nearly making that choice, which she ‘backed out of at the last minute’.

‘That was my own choice, based on information provided by Belle. I regret that choice (to nearly not vaccinate), but it was my own. I’m not here to place blame.’

In November 2014, Ms Gibson told Sunday Style magazine she blamed the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil for her cancer.

After friends and medical experts cast doubt on her medical claims in various media stories this week, Ms Gibson told The Australian she may have been ‘misdiagnosed’.

‘It’s hard to admit that maybe you were wrong,’ she told the newspaper, adding that she was ‘confused, bordering on humiliated’.

In a reference to her liver cancer, she posted on Instagram under her account @healing_belle, a photo of a pink smoothie enriched with 'extra support'

In a reference to her liver cancer, she posted on Instagram under her account @healing_belle, a photo of a pink smoothie enriched with ‘extra support’

The Whole Pantry, a popular app, gained media attention because of Ms Gibson's remarkable story about cancer survival 

The Whole Pantry, a popular app, gained media attention because of Ms Gibson’s remarkable story about cancer survival 

The company she founded, The Whole Pantry, said donations to charities that allegedly failed to arrive had been ‘accounted for and not processed’ and that promised donations ‘would be honoured’.

Ms Smith told Daily Mail Australia she was ‘baffled’ by this week’s allegations and was most upset about the hope Ms Gibson’s followers had invested in her program if she was being dishonest.

She said Ms Gibson had the ‘gift of the gab’ and ‘needs to answer to these people (her followers), because they are good hearted people who deserve answers’.

‘I don’t care about exposing Belle. I haven’t spoken to her for months, years.

‘I just want her to confirm or deny (her diagnoses) so people who put their faith in her, invested in her – they need to know.

‘They need to know, if they’ve rejected conventional medicine on what she’s saying.

‘It’s their lives, it’s not a game.’

Belle Gibson: the entrepreneur behind The Whole Pantry app

Ms Smith said of Belle Gibson (above): 'If I saw Belle now, I would just ask her to tell the truth. That's all I want'

Ms Smith said of Belle Gibson (above): ‘If I saw Belle now, I would just ask her to tell the truth. That’s all I want’

Ms Gibson wrote about how she chose a cancer patient called Joshua to 'donate 100% of app sales to' 

Ms Gibson wrote about how she chose a cancer patient called Joshua to ‘donate 100% of app sales to’ 

After three years of sometimes personal exchanges online, Ms Gibson and Ms Smith stopped talking after the development of the Whole Pantry app.

‘If I saw Belle now, I would just ask her to tell the truth. That’s all I want.

‘I don’t want to see her beg people for mercy. I don’t want her to beg for forgiveness – I just want the truth.

‘Come clean, be transparent, let the world know where you’re at. If you were misdiagnosed, own up to it.

‘Belle DID create an exceptional application, that is loved by many, but I think she should sell it for what it is, complimentary medicines and a diet – not life saving treatment.

‘All people want is the truth from her.’

Close friends told Daily Mail Australia on Wednesday that Ms Gibson may have left for the United States. Police visited her home on Tuesday night to check on her welfare, but she was not there.

Multiple calls to Ms Gibson’s mobile rang out.

IN TWEETS, BELLE GIBSON DESCRIBED HERSELF AS A ‘DISTINGUISHED PHYSCOPATH’ (SIC)

Amid claims that the entrepreneur behind The Whole Pantry app has fled to country, more details about Belle Gibson’s past are coming to light.

The young social media personality – who came under fire after claims her ‘terminal cancer’ and incredible survival story from the life-threatening illness were false – once described herself as a psychopath.

Ms Gibson has previously gone under the name of Annabelle Natalie Gibson, and tweeted in 2009: @bellmneb: ‘Is a distinguished physcopath (sic),’ the Herald Sun reported.

The next month she sent another tweet, from the account which appears to have been removed.

‘Obama won the nobel peace prize. This is more f***ed then (sic) the government giving me cancer. #obamawinsnobelprize,’ it read.

The Job Seeker Training Con- New legislation on track to stop the RIP OFFS


Plenty to come with this huge scam, no wonder private training “Colleges” and the like are popping up like flies to a pile of shit.

Money for nothing, scrounge as much money as you can from the hopeless job seekers and the desperate with pathetic unneeded useless courses unsuitable for their needs, and signing them to huge debt,  all for the gov kickbacks.

Falsifying applications, interviews, outcomes for more gov bonuses. What is yet to come, is the people behind some of these companies are retired or ex Federal and State MP’s who were smart (silly) enough to jump on the band wagon! These payments amount to billions over the time, and most in need get nothing out of it, nor have their circumstances improved.

The bloody rich get richer and the poor stay poor. Some involved with ICAC are yet to be exposed on gov contracts to house these gov job seeker services. Wrapping up long over valued leases.


UPDATE 11/03/15

New legislation to ban training providers from offering ‘miraculously’ short diploma courses

Training providers will be banned from offering “miraculously” short diploma courses, and from offering students incentives to sign up, under new legislation to be introduced by the Federal Government.

Assistant Training Minister Simon Birmingham said he was “very concerned” the Government’s vocational education loans scheme (VET FEE-HELP) was being abused and announced a range of measures to crack down on rogue providers.

“I’m very concerned about the range of distortions and abuse of the VET FEE-HELP scheme that’s occurring around Australia,” he told the ABC.

“I’ve had all too many examples of students who are being ripped off, vulnerable people taken advantage of, all of it being put on a tab for the taxpayer.

“So these reforms are designed to clamp down on dishonest behaviour, unethical behaviour amongst vocational education and training providers and make sure we restore integrity to a very important system.”

VET FEE-HELP is a HECS-style loans scheme that requires students to repay the Commonwealth once they earn a certain amount.

Senator Birmingham said he had heard “horrible stories” about dodgy training providers offering students laptops, meals, prizes and cash to sign up for courses that they did not need or would not lead to a job.

In some cases, he said students had been told the course in which they enrolled was free, when it was not.

“There’s no doubt that especially in relation to incentives and inducements for sign up, that has been a widespread activity over the last few months, if not couple of years since Labor opened up this system in 2012,” he said.

“Our reforms will shut the door on that.”

Under the changes, training providers would be required to have a minimum number of units of study in their diplomas and advanced diplomas, they would be banned from offering inducements or incentives to encourage students to sign up for courses, and they would be required to “properly assess” a student’s educational abilities before enrolment.

If the cost of these reforms is we see some dubious providers go out of business, then I’ll be quite happy to see that occur as long as we see a system that’s sustainable for the long haul.

Assistant Training Minister Simon Birmingham

Training providers would also be banned from accepting course fees in a single up-front transaction, to give students more time to consider their options.

“We are addressing the gaping holes that existed in the guidelines when Labor opened the scheme up in 2012 and making sure that through doing that, we restore some quality to the system,” Senator Birmingham said.

The Government estimated the changes would prevent students from taking out $16.3 billion in bad loans over the next 10 years, but Senator Birmingham admitted it would come at a cost to the sector.

“That will come at some cost to the industry, but ultimately I’m determined that these measures will shut down bad business models,” he said.

“If the cost of these reforms is we see some dubious providers go out of business, then I’ll be quite happy to see that occur as long as we see a system that’s sustainable for the long haul.”

According to Government figures, more than 180,000 students accessed the VET FEE-HELP scheme last year, taking out more than $1.6 billion in loans.


Update 4 Mar 2015

Evocca College under investigation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority after reports of low graduation rates

Update 4 Mar 2015

Figures obtained by the ABC show Evocca College has a graduation rate of about 10 per cent despite claiming more than $290 million in government funding via the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme.

The figures show out of 38,213 students who signed up to its diploma courses in the past four years, only 2,058 were handed diplomas by October 2014.

There were 16,567 students who officially cancelled and 3,897 who timed out of the course.

The college said about 15,000 were still on track to graduate.

More than 20 former Evocca employees spoke to the ABC about questionable practices at the college after concerns about the training provider were first aired in January.

Since then the graduation rates of the college have been the subject of debate.

Now more allegations have come to light including that it enrolled students ill-equipped for diploma level courses without enough support, that it enrolled students who did not pass the required literacy test, and that it backdated tutor qualification forms to pass federal government audits.

Former staff claimed the college actively sought to hamper students who wanted to leave the college and cease adding to their government training debt.

An email obtained by the ABC shows the college sent an email to staff stating that “cancellation is a banned word”.

There’s a large amount of tax-payers’ money going into these colleges, it’s crucial tax-payers are getting value for money.

Australian Skills Quality Authority chief commissioner Chris Robinson

The college rejected suggestions it was taking advantage of the the VET FEE-HELP student training loan scheme, which was opened up to diploma courses in recent years.

In a statement, a company spokesman said they had a team of people dedicated to reaching out to students who were not attending.

“In cases where we have been through all possible processes endeavouring to re-engage a student, but have not been able to do so, we will cancel their enrolment, and have many thousands of documented cases to back this up,” he said.

The spokesman said the enrolment figures were not accurate and did not take into account “the flexible model that we deliver in allowing students more time than many other providers to complete their courses at no additional cost, which provides for differing levels of ability and also a variety of personal circumstances”.

It comes after a senate inquiry into the training loan scheme handed down its interim report on Monday.

Under VET FEE-HELP students can borrow up to $96,000 from the government for training, plus a 20 per cent loan fee, but not make repayments until they earn more than $53,000.

The loans attract interest in line with inflation (indexation) and the level of debt accrued can affect people’s ability to take out some types of loans in the future.

Free iPads ending up at pawn shops

One of the key criticisms of many new players in the diploma-level training market is the use of incentives such as free laptops and iPads to sign students up to courses, and ultimately training debts.

In Sydney’s west the Mega Cash pawn shop around the corner from Evocca’s Mt Druitt campus sees up to five students a day trying to pawn their computers.

“I was getting about five a day, last week,” manager Dean Rasmussen said.

“We can’t take the iPads because as the college tells us, they still own them until the student finishes the course so they cannot legally sell it or loan [it].”

There are similar reports in other states.

Evocca has 40 campuses around Australia and enrols about 15,000 students.

Evocca said the computers were loaned to students in line with a scheme with Federal Government approval.

“They are provided as a necessary tool with which students may become familiar with technology and also complete their studies, especially as many do not have the immediate wherewithal to purchase their own,” a spokesman said.

Former employee Steven Fogerty said the computers were useless as learning tools because they did not come equipped with relevant learning software such as Microsoft Office.

“The concept of giving students an iPad is purely an incentive because they’re a toy,” he said.

Regulator to investigate

The federal regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, said it has been investigating a number of complaints about Evocca.

Chief commissioner Chris Robinson said some related to recruitment practices and others related to its operations.

He said the ABC raised new allegations the regulator was not aware of.

“We certainly are concerned about some of [the allegations],” he said.

“It would be very good if people have information and concerns in the way Evocca has operated to come through ASQA.”

He said the regulator audited 4,000 colleges in the past three years and suspended or chose not to renew many providers.

“Certainly not enough providers are fully compliant at all times,” he said.

“There’s a large amount of tax-payers’ money going into these colleges, it’s crucial tax-payers are getting value for money.”

Staff come forward

More than 20 former Evocca employees have come forward to the ABC with concerns about the college’s operation.

Mr Fogerty was a business management tutor at Mt Druitt campus for six months.

He said they regularly discussed at morning meetings the low educational ability of students recruited by the company’s sales agents.

“We’d all say we know this is wrong,” he said.

In vocational training, students typically progress through Certificates I to III or IV before undertaking a diploma level course, unless they have extensive workplace experience.

Mr Fogerty said he had one student who had vision and hearing impairments who was enrolled despite not writing 100 words as required by the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) entrance test.

This student was then given little or no extra support despite his impairments.

“They would let anyone into this college. Your intellectual abilities were not even considered,” he said.

“If you were an Australian citizen and you could sign your name, you’re in.”

Other students included migrants with poor English skills, single mothers and elderly people, many of whom he said did not get appropriate learning support.

Evocca said it had a thorough pre-enrolment process that ensured students understood the requirements and were capable of completing the course.

“It is due to these self-imposed standards of closely vetting any potential student that, although we receive many thousands of inquiries annually, only 14 per cent of these result in enrolments,” a company spokesman said.

Claims of backdating forms

Former Queensland branch manager Michelle Naylor said when the college was audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority it deliberately backdated staff qualification paperwork to pass the audit.

“We were asked to go through everyone’s qualifications,” she said.

“If they didn’t have qualifications we were asked to sign a form called Working Under Supervision and unfortunately I had to backdate a couple of those to the term the tutors commenced work.

“I didn’t know I was supervising them, I thought they had qualifications and experience.

“I knew I was doing the wrong thing.”

The college denied any wrongdoing and said it would “update” paperwork of those who were required to be supervised while they were in the process of obtaining their Certificate IV in Workplace Training.

“This was an internal administrative process, which was in part designed to ensure some transparency and accountability for those who were undertaking this training, to ensure that it was completed in a timely manner, and that those being supervised were of an acceptable standard,” a spokesman said.

Students say they lose out

Dylan Palmer would travel three hours each day to study digital gaming at Evocca’s Brisbane campus.

He was referred to the course by a friend who received $100 cash from Evocca and Dylan received a free laptop.

“It was a lot of fun at first but as I went on it kind of jumped from point A to point C without ever really explaining point B and it just got really confusing for me,” he said.

I did struggle. It was very, very hard. There’s nothing for disabilities. They’ve got nothing in place, no protocols, nothing.

Leanne Fraser

The 21-year-old has Asperger’s syndrome and said he did not receive sufficient support.

“Sometimes they’d just say ‘watch the video again’.”

He now has a $27,000 VET FEE-HELP debt.

Also in Queensland, single mother Leanne Fraser would travel two hours each day for a diploma in tourism.

She has multiple sclerosis and said there was no help for students with a disability.

“I did struggle. It was very, very hard,” she said.

“There’s nothing for disabilities. They’ve got nothing in place, no protocols, nothing.”

A college spokesman said the Evocca teaching model was based on doing everything it could to support students.

“[There is] a robust system in place for the ongoing management of students, including regular one-to-one catch ups with tutors, to ensure that these objectives are achieved.”


23rd February 2015

Unemployment in Australia is at its highest in 12 years. The Government’s solution is an innovative billion-dollar scheme called Jobs Services Australia. But the initiative is failing.

Now, a Four Corners investigation shows how the scheme is being manipulated and, at times, systematically exploited. Reporter Linton Besser reveals the corruption at the heart of the program aimed at helping some of this country’s most vulnerable people.

He travels to suburbs where unemployment is a way of life. He meets Kym, struggling to find work and pull her daughter out of a cycle of poverty.

There to help are private and not-for-profit job agencies, paid by the Government to help find work for Kym and others like her. These agencies have blossomed thanks to the privatisation of the Commonwealth Employment Service in 1998, and are thriving on contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Unemployment is now big business in Australia. Each year the Government spends about $1.3 billion on its welfare to work scheme.

But what happens when there are simply not enough jobs to go around?

What Four Corners discovers is a system open to abuse where the unemployed have become a commodity. Some agencies bend the rules, others break them.

“I would say about 80 percent of claims that come through have some sort of manipulation on them.” – Agency whistleblower

Four Corners goes inside the industry, finding shocking evidence of fraud, manipulation, falsified paperwork, and the recycling of the unemployed through temporary jobs.

Hours are bumped up, wages are inflated, and in many cases, vital evidence to support claims from the taxpayer appears to have been falsified. One former jobseeker tells Four Corners her paperwork appears to have been completely forged.

In recent years Government checks have forced some companies to pay back millions of dollars, but few are sanctioned. Former job agency employees say crucial internal records are adjusted in preparation for government audits.

“That, I guess, caused alarm bells for me… Claims that have been claimed, signatures that weren’t on them, and we were sort of told, you know, if the signature’s not on it, get it any way that you can.” – Former job agency employee

As the nation grapples with rising unemployment, Four Corners raises uncomfortable questions about the charities and profit-takers making a buck from Australia’s jobless.

“THE JOBS GAME”, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd February at 8.30pm on ABC. The program is replayed on Tuesday 24th February at 10.00am and Wednesday at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview


Government recovers over $41 million worth of false claims after ‘rorting’ of Job Services Australia scheme

23/02/15

The Federal Government has clawed back more than $41 million worth of false claims by private employment agencies in just the past three years.

The agencies are contracted by the Government under a privatised welfare-to-work program called Job Services Australia, a sprawling $1.3 billion-a-year scheme designed to get the unemployed into work.

A Four Corners investigation has found rorting of the scheme is rampant. Forgery, manipulation of records and the lodgement of inflated claims for fees are widespread.

One former agency employee said he had seen “thousands” of jobseeker records doctored by his agency to support suspect claims against the taxpayer.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, have been recouped at times by the department.

Rupert Taylor-Price

The managing director of a private employment agency told Four Corners: “There are incentives to be involved in sharp practices from a financial and performance perspective.”

“We had to do the same thing [because] everyone was doing it,” the source said.

“The Government does not want to expose the whole industry.”

Three years ago a top-level inquiry into just one type of fee found spectacular rates of failure, forcing cancellation of that particular fee and prompting industry-wide ructions.

Ominously, the inquiry noted that just 40 per cent of the claims it examined could be confirmed by documentary evidence, or by the testimony of jobseekers and their employers.

The Abbott administration has made some changes to the scheme that take effect mid-way through this year.

But critics say these changes will do little, if anything, to stop widespread gaming of the contract.

Only one in 10 enjoy ‘a better chance of gaining employment’

The ABC has learned that fraud investigators attached to the Department of Employment have launched probes into many of the major agencies contracted to the program since its inception in 1998.

For-profit companies, including the market leader, Max Employment, have been investigated for particular allegations, as well as well-loved Australian charities including the Salvation Army.

There are a variety of means by which the contract is exploited.

The ABC is not suggesting that any particular agency is engaged in the full range of rorts, or other means by which the contract can be optimised.

But despite a long parade of whistleblowers detailing allegations of the misappropriation of taxpayer funds by some agencies, and highly questionable practices by others, the government has declined to detail instances where it has ever sanctioned any single agency operating under the scheme.

But what the department does is only reclaim those from the failures it finds. So even if you are going to put in claims that have a failure rate, you’re still going to have a lot of them not found and keep the money … there’s still an incentive to make the claim.

Rupert Taylor-Price

In one case to be examined on Four Corners, investigators were forced to shelve their inquiries when they discovered a departmental official had explicitly told the agency that it could still collect fees for services the Government knew had never been delivered.

Rupert Taylor-Price, whose software company analyses government data generated by the program, says the scheme is being routinely “optimised” to the detriment of jobseekers.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, have been recouped at times by the department,” Mr Taylor-Price said.

“But what the department does is only reclaim those from the failures it finds.

“So even if you are going to put in claims that have a failure rate, you’re still going to have a lot of them not found and keep the money … there’s still an incentive to make the claim.”

He says he believes only one in 10 participants in the program enjoy “a better chance of gaining employment”.

The program was created 17 years ago, when the Howard government effectively privatised the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES).

The new policy created a pseudo-marketplace of jobseekers who were forced under Centrelink’s rules to attend private agencies, which would be paid to find them work.

Since then, more than $18 billion has been spent on the welfare to work program – first labelled Job Network, and now known as Job Services Australia.

It has been a cheaper scheme than the CES, but critics say it has also been far less helpful at assisting long-term unemployed people back into work.

‘You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there’

Academics and experts have repeatedly pointed out the glaring paradox at the heart of the program: how can these agencies have any impact on the unemployed when the number of jobless far outstrip the number of job vacancies?

“[The welfare to work program] patently hasn’t worked,” said Professor Bill Mitchell, director of Newcastle University’s Centre of Full Employment and Equity.

“It’s an impossible task … there’s not enough jobs to go around. You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there, and that’s the dilemma of the whole system.

“We’ve had a demand-side constraint – not enough jobs – and all this vigorous energy and money being poured into a supply-side initiative as if that’s the problem.”

Periodically, the jobs program has been mired in scandal. A major Productivity Commission inquiry in 2002 made adverse findings about the program, including that the long-term unemployed were being “parked”.

It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation.

Former senior departmental investigator

Just three years after Job Network was launched, one prominent job agency was accused of shovelling thousands of people into phoney jobs.

In what has become a pattern, a subsequent inquiry cleared the agency of fraud but demanded the repayment of thousands of dollars.

Insiders have told Four Corners that department managers have been reluctant to tighten up the program’s governing contract to prevent blatant rip-offs.

“It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation,” said a former senior departmental investigator.

He said he had significant doubts about the will of successive governments to root out the fraud perpetrated against the contract.

“The department was more interested in getting its money back [than sanctioning agencies] … it’s very politically-driven,” the former investigator said.

The Department of Employment provided figures to Four Corners which showed that millions of dollars are routinely recouped from agencies, as a result of audits, self-identification by agencies and other “program assurance activities”.

In 2011–2012, $8.34 million was recovered.

The figure spiked to $23.81 million the following year after the inquiry into one particular type of fee.

And last year, another $9.12 million was reclaimed.

A department spokesman said typical repayments by agencies amounted to “less than 1 per cent of the amount paid each year”, and said it had “robust systems” to detect inappropriate claims for fees.

He would not answer a series of specific questions about past or current investigations conducted by the department.

“In cases of suspected fraud, matters are referred to agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions,” the spokesman said.

“Since 2006 the Department has made 38 referrals to the appropriate authorities.”

Background Information

RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Statement by Catholic Care in response to Four Corners

Statement in response – Four Corners Interview Request | 30 January, 2015

Statement by Salvation Army in response to Four Corners | 5 February, 2015

Statement by the Department of Employment in response to Four Corners

Statement from the Assistant Minister for Employment, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP in response to Four Corners

RESEARCH

Letter of concern regarding the Job Network | November 1999

Job Services Australia review and evaluation | Department of Employment | 2014

Labour Force Figures, January 2015 | Australian Bureau of Statistics

Management of Services Delivered by Job Services Australia | Australian National Audit Office | 2013/14

ACOSS submission to APESAA | 2012

Rethinking Australia’s Employment Services | Whitlam Institute | UWS | 2011

A review of developments in the Job Network | Research Paper | Paliamentary Library | 24 December, 2007

Centerlink Quarterly Breach Data | Participation and activity test requirements and penalties for workforce age payments | 20 September 2003

Wage Subsidies | Job Access

Parliamentry Debate | Job Network question to Tony Abbott then Minister for Employment Services | 7 December, 1998

MEDIA

Unemployment | Topic Page | ABC News | Regularly Updated

Young Australians are not giving up on work, despite high unemployment | The Guardian | 17 February 2015

REMINDER: Why employment and unemployment are both rising in Australia | Business Insider | 16 February 2015

Social Service Agency Reacts to Welfare Contractor’s Controversy | Voice of OC | 17 June, 2014

Australia Unemployment Rate 1978-2015 | Trading Economics | 12 February, 2015

Job seeker funding still open to fraud, despite fee reforms | Sydney Morning Herald | 22 April, 2013

Federal Agency Finds Workfare Contractor Violated Wage Law | New York Times | 1 September, 2000

RELEVANT LINKS

Job Services Australia | The Australian Government employment services system that supports job seekers and employers.

Jobs Australia | The national peak body for nonprofit organisations that assist unemployed people to get and keep jobs

Max Solutions Training

Clive Palmer media adviser Andrew Crook charged over alleged kidnap of National Australia Bank executive


By the National Reporting Team’s Mark Solomons and Mark Willacy – exclusive

Fri 19 Dec 2014, 4:59pm

Clive Palmer‘s media adviser and confidant Andrew Crook has been granted bail after facing court charged over the alleged kidnapping of a National Australia Bank executive on an Indonesian island.

Crook was arrested this morning during police raids on properties in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

As part of the same operation, police from the state’s anti-bikie taskforce arrested Mick Featherstone, a Gold Coast private investigator and former senior detective at the centre of a year-long probe by Queensland‘s Crime and Corruption Commission into money laundering and police corruption.

Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of multi-millionaire property developer and former Sydney Swans , who lives in Bali.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Crook and Featherstone were held during morning raids at addresses in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm and Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast.

Crook was then taken to his Brisbane CBD office where police carried out further searches.

Officers also raided another Brisbane premises and seized documents.

On Friday afternoon Crook and Featherstone faced court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, retaliation against a witness and attempted fraud against NAB.

Crook was bailed on conditions including that he surrender his passport and does not go within 100 metres of the NAB’s Southport branch.

The ABC understands Queensland Police will allege Crook and Mr Smith were involved in a January 2013 attempt to coerce a witness in a $70 million civil case involving Mr Smith to recant his evidence, using subterfuge and threats of violence.

Queensland Police say the charges stem from an elaborate scheme which police will allege was planned partly in Queensland. Section 12 of the Queensland Criminal Code allows for prosecutions for offences overseas where they would be considered crimes in Australia.

Police have been investigating claims Crook and Mr Smith lured the witness, an employee of the National Australia Bank, to Singapore and on to Batam Island in Indonesia using the pretence of a possible job offer from Clive Palmer.

It will be alleged that once on Batam Island, the witness was strip-searched, threatened and forced to make a statement recanting his evidence.

Clive Palmer calls raids a ‘black day for Australia’

Mr Palmer is not thought to have had any involvement in, or knowledge of the plot.

The federal MP arrived at Crook’s office during the raid and said he knew nothing of the allegations.

But he suggested the police actions could be politically motivated.

“I don’t know very much other than to say that Crook Media and Andrew Crook are responsible for all our media in Australia, was responsible for the Palmer United Party winning the last federal election,” he said.

“And of course, the LNP, the Liberal Government – Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott – don’t like the opposition we’ve been giving them in the Senate, they don’t like that sort of thing.

“I think this is a black day for Australia if any of this, which I don’t know anything about at the moment, has anything to do with political freedom in this country.

“I think it’s very important that there’s freedom of speech in Australia, that there’s diversity of opinion. I’m personally very concerned because Mr Crook is our media adviser and if they wanted to attack me or our party they can do that.”

Brisbane-based Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics.

Since becoming a federal MP, Mr Palmer has retained the services of Crook and his PR firm, Crook Media, to handle his political media relations.

Clive Palmer chats with Andrew Crook Photo: Mr Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

Mr Smith made his fortune in the tourism industry after his AFL career.

Since 2009 he has been embroiled in legal action against the National Australia Bank, claiming the bank caused him to lose $70 million at the height of the global financial crisis.

He began building the biggest mansion on the Gold Coast, on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach, but was later forced to sell it unfinished and at a loss.

Mr Smith then shifted his businesses to Bali, where he has developed luxury holiday accommodation. He also has interests in New Zealand and has re-invested in Gold Coast real estate in the past couple of years.

It is understood detectives from the Queensland police anti-bikie taskforce Maxima stumbled on evidence of the alleged January 2013 plot earlier this year while investigating Featherstone and his links to bikies, to former and serving police officers and his involvement with online betting syndicates on the Gold Coast.

The ABC revealed in September that Featherstone was the focus of a joint Maxima and Crime and Corruption Commission probe described as a “priority” investigation by CCC chairman Ken Levy.

In a parallel, four-month investigation, the ABC uncovered evidence Featherstone had for almost 10 years been involved in setting up and operating online betting syndicates alleged to have defrauded thousands of people across Australia of millions of dollars.

Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (QOFT) this week renewed Featherstone’s private investigator’s licence, which had expired in October. It also renewed the licence held by his PI firm, Phoenix Global.

The office of Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, which oversees the QOFT, told the ABC it had conducted the required criminal history checks and could find no reason to deny Featherstone or his firm a licence.

Rhodes superannuation administrator charged over missing $3.9m super money – 8yr transfer trail linked to gambling habit


More to come on this greedy bastard after next court hearing

Steve Stickney

Charges relate to money being transferred from members’ accounts.

Charges relate to money being transferred from members’ accounts.

A 52-year-old Rhodes superannuation administrator was charged today with fraud offences relating to the disappearance of $3.9 million.

Late this afternoon Fraud and Cybercrime Squad detectives arrested and charged the man, alleging the senior administrator at a business providing services to a superannuation company altered documents and transferred money from members’ accounts.

They also alleged the money was then withdrawn over a period of eight years, with the funds used for gambling.

Detectives arrested the man at his workplace and took him to Burwood Police Station where he was charged with 16 counts of obtain money by deception and three counts of fraud.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Thursday January 8, 2015. Are we ever going to see him again seeing he stole so much money?

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

Single mum on benefits accused of conning lovelorn men in their 60s and 70s out of $2m


A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigned romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victims’ money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers or by getting the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.

Her name is kept from us, but she is a disgrace, robbing lonely old men out of all their money, mind you she is on the pension collecting over $1500 a fortnight already. Three thousand dollars a month, but she wanted more for herself, over 2 million dollars she extracted from these old blokes with all sorts of bullshit lies. A real pro, 5 bank accounts, money laundering, online ads, newspapers, the sexy photos…Greedy disgusting person

Don’t think for a minute she was doing this for her kids. No the money spent on outrageously expensive hand bags, sports cars and plastic surgery and the like. Not things useful to her four children aged 2 to 16

Single mum on benefits accused of conning lovelorn men in their 60s and 70s out of $2m

The suspect is led away by police / Picture: Matt Jewell

The suspect, a mother of four, is led away by police in Miller in Sydney’s west.

  • Mother of four, 39, was arrested yesterday in Miller
  • Received $1500 a fortnight through social security
  • Conned money from three men without meeting them
  • Had a sexual relationship with another
  • Two victims were in their 60s, two in their 70s

A SINGLE mother on benefits prowled lonely hearts messages online and in ­newspapers to “romance scam” more than $2 million from lovelorn men.

The 39-year-old woman was arrested yesterday at her Miller home in Sydney’s West and is understood to be the first person in Australia to be charged with the crime more commonly associated with Nigerian fraudsters.

The woman allegedly scammed four men using a variety of convincing stories.

The woman allegedly scammed four men using a variety of convincing stories.

The mother of four children, aged two to 16, received $1500 a fortnight in social ­security benefits. But she ­allegedly spent the proceeds from her romance fraud on sports cars, exotic holidays, Louis Vuitton handbags and plastic surgery.

She also allegedly bought a house in Miller, tore it down and built a new one.

Three of the men handed over money to the woman without even meeting her while one, an interstate ­businessman, had a sexual ­relationship with her at a north shore apartment that he owned.

The profile photo the woman used online to lure men / Picture: Supplied

The profile photo the woman used online to lure men

“This woman was very good at convincing men that she was in love with them and that they were in a relationship,’’ said Detective Superintendent ­Arthur Katsogiannis, the head of the NSW Fraud and ­Cybercrime Squad.

Police will allege the woman had five bank ­accounts and spun a number of sob stories to the victims, which all ended in her needing them to put money in her bank accounts.

“She would tell the men that a relative in Egypt had died and she needed money to get the funds released from the state or her child needed an operation in Melbourne,’’ Detective Katsogiannis said.

“We will allege she used a number of these stories to play on the men’s good nature and emotions.’’

Police seize cars from the woman’s Western Sydney home as she is led away by police / Pic

Police seize cars from the woman’s Western Sydney home as she is led away by police

Police will also claim she laundered the money by buying expensive cars and then selling them at a loss.

One victim was allegedly duped of $1.9 million and the other three gave over $190,000, $58,000 and $12,000. Two of the men were aged in their 60s and another two were in their 70s. Police believe the woman could have many more victims.

“This sort of scam is often operated from overseas and we believe this is the first time anyone has been charged with doing it in Australia,” Detective Katsogiannis said.

“The men who have come forward are to be commended. It takes a lot of courage to report something potentially very embarrassing.’’

Police froze more than a $1 million in cash and assets and yesterday seized cars from the woman’s home.

The woman targeted older men who placed ads on singles message boards Lavalife and Meeting Point.

“We live in a world where love has grown cold, loneliness is increasing,” Detective Katsogiannis said.

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Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud


Another greedy union official bites the dust, jailed for 5 years, that’s good, but not enough when one considers what he got up to. Filling his own and his families pockets with as much money as they could grab from the low paid workers this bastard was supposed to represent. Paying family owned companies hundreds of thousands of dollars for non existent or grossly over charging for work in the union.

I posted about his antics here several years ago along with Craig Thompson and the high living they felt was a free for all “Entitlement”

I will piece together my other posts and add them here shortly. Tip of the iceburg people…

Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud

Updated 5 minutes ago

Former Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson has been sentenced to up to seven-and-a-half years in jail for fraud.

The New South Wales District Court was packed as sentencing Judge David Frearson described Williamson as “brazen and arrogant”.

The judge said Williamson was in a position of power when he defrauded the union of nearly $1 million.

The 60-year-old will be eligible for parole after serving five years in prison.

Williamson had been facing a possible 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to four charges including fraud and recruiting others to hinder a police investigation.

Prosecutors say Williamson, who was already on a salary of about $500,000, was motivated by greed.

The court has been told the former Australian Labor Party president submitted false invoices to the union from a company in his wife’s name.

Williamson’s lawyers say he has apologised and taken full responsibility for his actions, noting he has also suffered depression since his behaviour was exposed.

More to come.

Michael Williamson apologises for fraud as Health Services Union claims back funds

Updated Wed 16 Oct 2013

Disgraced former ALP president Michael Williamson has apologised to members of the Health Services Union (HSU) for his large-scale fraud, as the organisation moves to recoup millions of dollars.

Williamson appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court yesterday and admitted funnelling almost $1 million of union funds into companies he had an interest in as well as recruiting union members to help cover his tracks.

Williamson admitted claiming $340,000 for a business called Canme Services – which was registered in his wife Julieanne’s name – although no services were ever provided.

He also admitted to defrauding the union out of $600,000 through a consulting company called Access Focus.

The HSU says it has now finalised its civil claim against Williamson in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

He has been ordered to pay the union $5 million for breaches of his duty, overpayments of remuneration and negligence.

But it is unclear how much of the money will be recovered because Williamson has declared himself bankrupt.

Branch secretary Gerard Hayes says the union will still be able to claw back significant funds.

“We are able to withhold $1.1 million out of his superannuation and we are withholding $600,000 of unpaid entitlements,” he said.

“And very importantly as well a public apology will be issued to our members.”

Members of the HSU include some of the lowest-paid health workers such as cleaners and support staff.

In his letter of apology released by the union, Williamson urges members not to quit saying he accepts responsibility for what he did:

“I wish to place on record my sincere apology to all of you.

“You placed your trust in me when I was the general secretary and I abused that trust.

“I apologise unreservedly to all of you for my actions, which were not in keeping with the position I formerly held.

“I have agreed to assist the union in recovery actions against others, and will honour that agreement.

“The court will determine the penalty I am to receive, but it won’t remove the fact I have to live with this matter until the day I die.”

The HSU says the settlement was reached with the help of independent mediator, the former federal attorney-general Robert McClelland.

Mr Hayes says it is a line in the sand for the beleaguered union.

“This puts the last couple of years of turmoil to bed and it gets the union focused on what the union should be focused on,” he said.

Sentencing for Williamson begins in two weeks.

Former HSU boss Michael Williamson admits fraud offences

Updated Tue 15 Oct 2013

Former Australian Labor Party president Michael Williamson has pleaded guilty to funnelling almost $1 million from the Health Services Union (HSU) to businesses he had an interest in.

Williamson, who was arrested when detectives raided his Maroubra home in Sydney’s east last year, now faces jail for the offences.

The police investigation probed allegations of corruption during his time at the HSU aired by the union’s national secretary, Kathy Jackson.

He was accused of dozens of offences, including money laundering, dealing with the proceeds of crime and dishonestly dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds.

Williamson appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court this morning with his solicitor Vivian Evans.

The prosecutor told Chief Magistrate Graham Henson that several offences had been folded into four formal charges that Williamson would plead guilty to.

Williamson admitted funnelling nearly $340,000 into a business called Canme Services, which was registered in his wife Julieanne’s name.

Dozens of cheques were made out to Canme for services that were never provided to the union.

He also admitted to defrauding the union out of $600,000 through a consulting company called Access Focus.

It is believed Williamson received a massive windfall from the company due to inflated fees billed to the HSU.

The former unionist also pleaded guilty to fabricating invoices to cover his tracks in returns to the union in February last year.

Caught shredding evidence

The final guilty plea came in relation to recruiting of other union members to help destroy evidence and hinder a police investigation.

Last year, Williamson was caught trying to shred documents when he was confronted by the NSW Fraud Squad at the union offices in Sydney’s CBD.

He has pleaded guilty to recruiting Carron Gilleland to help him destroy evidence in the case.

‘Absolutely outrageous nepotism’

SMH investigative reporter Kate McClymont broke the story that led to the charges. She has told the ABC it is a case of “absolutely outrageous nepotism”.

“Especially when you think that the members of the HSU are hospital cleaners, orderlies, among the lowest paid unionists in the country,” she said.

McClymont is not surprised Williamson pleaded guilty, saying there were “certain pressures put on him” to do so.

“For instance, his son Christopher was one of those that was possibly facing criminal charges. So I think that there has been some argy bargy going on over the last couple of months that has led to his guilty plea today,” she said.

Listen to McClymont’s interview with the ABC.

Williamson stayed quiet through the proceedings today, with the prosecutor informing the court of the amended charge sheet.

He emerged from court speaking on a mobile phone and ignored the hive of media that had assembled.

Williamson resigned from the HSU late last year, less than two weeks after a leaked report into the union’s internal workings alleged he engaged in nepotism by funnelling union funds to himself and his family.

The report, by Ian Temby QC and Dennis Robertson, detailed allegations of multi-million-dollar instances of nepotism, maladministration and cronyism.

It said Williamson had a salary of almost $400,000 and alleged five members of his family were among the union’s best paid employees.

The magistrate committed Williamson to sentencing on October 28 in the District Court.

Police have previously said they expect to make more arrests in the case.

Closure for union members

The Australian Council of Trades Union (ACTU) says it hopes Williamson faces the full force of the law.

ACTU president Ged Kearney says he deserves whatever punishment he receives.

“Defrauding union members of their money is something that the union movement cannot abide and will not stand for,” she said.

“These offences are very serious and we’re very pleased that they will be dealt with properly by the criminal law.”

The New South Wales secretary of the HSU, Gerard Hayes, says today’s guilty pleas by Williamson will help bring closure for the union’s members.

“There are 30,000 victims in this matter,” he said.

“They needed closure and this certainly brings closure for them.”

Queen of Con, Jody Harris


Australia’s Queen of Con, Jody Harris

Paul Anderson

IF CONWOMAN Jody Harris had used her extraordinary nous and talent for good instead of criminal gain she could have been anything.

Dubbed Australia’s greatest con-woman by police for good reason, Harris committed an amazing con-job spree along the eastern seaboard; fleecing women’s bank accounts and stealing policemen’s hearts.

Police who investigated Harris – and those who slept with her – have grudgingly admitted she is the best female confidence swindler this country has ever seen.

Her methods were so impressive, and her vixen-like persona so elusive, that one senior Victorian police officer likened her to the famed US conman Frank Abagnale – the man who inspired the hit film Catch Me If You Can.

As a young man, Abagnale cashed millions of dollars’ worth of fraudulent cheques while posing as a pilot, doctor, lawyer and professor.

A major thorn in the side of the FBI, he seduced a handful of women before he was finally arrested.

During her run, Harris (now known by the surname Harding) posed as an air hostess, doctor, psychiatrist, policewoman and even the niece of slain Melbourne underworld figure Mario Condello as she befriended women and gleaned documents and information necessary to impersonate them and plunder their banks accounts.

Born in Queensland, Harris was the daughter of a violent father and now well-known human rights activist turned lawyer Debbie Kilroy (nee Harding).

Harris had an abused and disrupted childhood.

 

Conwoman Jody Harris bled victims’ bank accounts dry in three states.

Judge Felicity Hampel would confirm in Melbourne’s County Court: “You were denied in your childhood the safety and stability which family life should provide children.”

Debbie was only 17 when she gave birth to Jody.

After she and her daughter were assaulted, Debbie left her violent husband.

“(Jody’s) father had always inflicted violence on me and I stayed in that, but the day that he hit her with a broom handle in the chest because she was crying, I actually left the relationship,” Debbie explained in the County Court.

Barrister Julie Sutherland told the same court that, after being abused by an uncle, Harris started committing crime at the age of 14.

She was even able to change all my personal details on the cards to hers to the point where, when I tried to change them back to mine, I could hardly prove who I was any more

“Even at 14 she’s making out she’s a policewoman and committing frauds, and so it goes on – year after sorry year,” Ms Sutherland said.

Years on, and using clever cover stories – while sometimes disguised in wigs and sunglasses – Harris got chummy with chosen victims and stole their identities before making a mockery of bank security by withdrawing thousands.

 

Jody Harris used all her charms to rack up debts under other peoples’ names.

She lived it up, sating her taste for luxury goods buying jewellery, designer clothes and accessories (her favourite brand was Louis Vuitton).

She stayed in five-star hotels where, on occasion, she stole personal documents from staff and guests at the gym facilities.

On one occasion on the streets of Melbourne, she pretended to be a detective and pulled over a 21-year-old woman named Alysha Searle.

Flashing a badge, she tricked Ms Searle into handing over her licence.

“She was very convincing,” Ms Searle would later say in court.

Using the licence, Harris withdrew $3000 from Ms Searle’s bank account and changed the password.

That was not the first time Harris had successfully posed as a copper.

According to court testimony from Victoria Police internal affairs investigator Det-Sgt Frank Torcasio, there was an allegation that Harris impersonated a policewoman and gained access to the Roma Street police complex in Brisbane in 1998.

Det-Sgt Torcasio also confirmed an allegation that Harris had lived with a Sydney detective for about six months.

 

Jody Harris is arrested in Sydney in 2006.

He also told the County Court that Harris had socialised with Victorian policemen in 2001 while pretending to be a visiting detective from New South Wales.

The Victorian cops had not doubted her story.

“They took it on face value on the flashing of a badge,” Det-Sgt Torcasio told the court.

About 12 years before she hooked up with Acting-Sgt Andrew Twining, Harris had met another Victorian policeman who worked at the Russell Street police station.

Harris told that officer that she was the daughter of an advertising executive and had attended a prestigious Brisbane girls’ school.

A relationship blossomed between the two; a relationship that ended that policeman’s career.

“I think she just had a fixation with me because I was a copper,” that former officer told the Sunday Herald Sun.

Harris became the focus of Victorian detectives in early 2006.

On May 19 that year, detective Paul Bertoncello spoke to this author and provided full details of Harris’s crime wave for a front-page story.

 

Jody Harris looked much more innocent in her pictures, even when she was snapped at Brisbane’s Correctional Centre in 2000.

“It’s like chasing a phantom,” Sen-Det Bertoncello said.

“She’s using different names and has proved very hard to track down.”

Victims included women such as Anita Mulligan, who fell and hit her head in the Melbourne CBD one night.

Harris swooped and drove Ms Mulligan to hospital, where she stole her licence and credit card before ringing her father to glean personal information.

“She told my dad she was a nurse and that her de facto was a police officer,” Ms Mulligan later told the Herald Sun.

“She conned my father and got whatever information she needed out of him.”

Harris changed Ms Mulligan’s bank account password and stole $10,500 from her account.

Posing as the daughter of a wealthy businessman, the “Queen of Con” tricked boutique clothing store owner Nova Gordon.

Using Ms Gordon’s stolen licence, Harris stole $37,870 from the bank – despite Ms Gordon freezing her account.

 

Police seized a huge array of photos of fake licences, credit cards and other IDs in the possession of Jody Harris, aka Jody Pearson-Harding and Jody Kilroy.

“She had all the trappings and pulled up outside my shop in a new four-wheel drive Lexus, dripping in jewellery,” Gordon would later say.

“I found out that Jody had been in the branch and convinced them she was me, and had the block removed. Her systems were better than ours.”

Another of Harris’ victims told police: “She was even able to change all my personal details on the cards to hers to the point where, when I tried to change them back to mine, I could hardly prove who I was any more.”

Another victim, Amanda Urquhart, stated: “You can remove yourself from it if people are using your ID, but if they start pretending to be you – that’s when it starts getting creepy.”

Less than a week after the first Herald Sun story appeared in May 2006, Harris rang Sen-Det Bertoncello’s office to bait her hunters.

She told investigators that she had been living in South Yarra.

It was a taunt: catch me if you can.

Detectives raided the vacated unit and found a Queensland police badge, a Victoria Police shirt and a Virgin Blue hostess outfit along with name tag, pin and crew bag tags.

Andrew Twining was on a cruise-ship holiday when a mate of his informed him about the true identity of his girlfriend.

 

Frank Abagnale (Leonardo Dicaprio) surrounds himself with stewardesses, who have no trouble believing he is an airline pilot in the film Catch Me If You Can.

Upon his return to Melbourne, Mr Twining helped a joint interstate police operation arrest Harris.

On July 6, 2006 he drove to Sydney to trip the trap.

Police swooped and netted the conwoman.

In Harris’s possession they found wigs, police property and more than 100 items of identification including a false Australian passport, driver’s licences, bank and credit cards, birth certificates, Medicare cards and even two Californian driver’s licences.

In the custody of NSW detectives, a drab and defeated-looking Harris spoke her mind to her captors, saying she must have been in “f—ing Hicksville full of f—ing two-headed c—s.”

“No offence,” she added facetiously.

In September 2006 at the age of 28, Harris pleaded guilty to 43 charges in NSW where she had bought more than $175,000 worth of goods and services using credit and bank cards stolen from 33 victims.

Items included a $3950 TAG Heuer diamond watch, a $1600 designer “bichoodle” poodle pup, bags, expensive clothes and shoes, hair extensions and a pearl necklace.

In sentencing her to four years’ jail with a minimum of 3 1/2, Magistrate Allan Moore said: “There is little doubt you are a person of intellect; a person of skill. One would have to suggest strongly that this was a matter of greed.”

In the Melbourne County Court, Harris pleaded guilty to a 36-count presentment relating to 15 victims.

Between January and May 2006, she stole a total $120,180 cash from various Victorian banks.

She used that money, in part, to purchase plane tickets, fancy dinners, hotel rooms, Louis Vuitton gear, clothing and lingerie.

Judge Hampel was told that Harris wanted to change her ways and replicate the shining example of her mother – a prisoner support advocate and solicitor with an Order of Australia honour to her name.

Harris also provided police with a video interview revealing her methods of operation for fraud investigators to study.

Just like Frank Abagnale, she had shared her criminal expertise with law enforcement agencies.

In sentencing Harris on December 19, 2008, Judge Hampel told her: “Your (record of) interview makes it clear that you took pride in the audacity of your activity, that you revelled in the publicity and that you used the money and credit to provide yourself with an ostentatiously luxurious lifestyle.”

It was a lifestyle that cost Jody Harris much more than she gained during her reign as the queen of con.

 

 

 

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