• Tony Bosworth

Raptor Squad charge North Richmond and Wilberforce three with alleged bushfire flood grant frauds


Raptor Squad investigators have charged a further seven people – including a woman from North Richmond, plus two men who are Rebels OMCG associates, from Wilberforce and North Richmond - and seized a firearm, poker machine and luxury goods valued at $60,000, as part of ongoing inquiries into fraudulent bushfire and flood claims.


Commander of Raptor Squad, Detective Superintendent Jason Weinstein, said this morning - Sunday, “Police will allege in court that these individuals used these situations to their advantage to defraud the government of thousands of dollars that should have gone to those in need.”


A 28-year-old Wilberforce man – who is a Rebels OMCG associate – was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception, attempt to dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and cultivate prohibited plant.


A 23-year-old North Richmond man – who is also a Rebels OMCG associate – was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.


A 40-year-old North Richmond woman was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception and attempt to dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.


All three were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Windsor Court on Thursday August 26.


In August last year, detectives from the State Crime Command’s Raptor Squad established Strike Force Fireant to investigate outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) members and associates allegedly involved in obtaining fraudulent funds through NSW Government grant schemes covering both bushfire and flood grants.


In December, officers arrested nine people – six men and three women, including Hawkesbury residents. All nine were charged and remain before the courts.


This last Thursday, Raptor Squad investigators were in action again, carrying out six dawn search warrant raids at homes at North Richmond, Wilberforce, Beecroft, Seven Hills, Shalvey, and Werrington County.


During the searches, police seized a replica Glock pistol, a poker machine, more than $5000 cash, steroids and cannabis.


Officers also seized 126 pairs of designer shoes valued at $30,000, as well as luxury bags and accessories valued at a further $30,000.


Other items seized included multiple mobile phones, electronic storage devices and documentation. All items will undergo further examination.


A 23-year-old Beecroft man – who is a Rebels OMCG associate – was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Hornsby Local Court on Wednesday September 29.


A 30-year-old Shalvey man – who is a Rebels OMCG associate – was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear at Mt Druitt Local Court on Wednesday August 25.


A 27-year-old Werrington County man – who is a Rebels OMCG associate – was charged with dishonestly obtain financial advantage by deception.


A 26-year-old Werrington County man was charged with possess unregistered firearm (pistol) and be in unauthorised possession of approved gaming machine.


Both of the Werrington County men were granted strict conditional bail to appear at Penrith Local Court on Thursday August 26.


Det Supt Weinstein, said investigators have conducted a significant and protracted investigation into the activities of these individuals.


“The state of NSW has endured an exceptionally difficult two years with the devastating effects of the bushfires, floods and the pandemic affecting everyone within our community,” Det Supt Weinstein said.


“Raptor Squad will continue to target anyone in the community actively engaging in these types of criminal activity – particularly members and associates of outlaw motorcycle gangs that set out to break the law,” he said.


Investigations under Strike Force Fireant are continuing.




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