5 NDIS Scandals That Made News

Close-up image of a person in a suit surrounded by multiple microphones and audio recording devices held by several hands, as they address the media about the NDIS scandal.

NDIS scandals, be they fraudulent claims by members or unscrupulous providers rorting the system, are an ongoing problem in our country. Misusing Australia’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) takes away funds meant to support the most vulnerable among us.

Since November 2023, the NDIS fraud taskforce has received over 4,000 tip-offs. Below, we look at times NDIS fraud made news.

1. $10 million NDIS scandal in NSW

In December 2022, a 24-year-old man from Merrylands, New South Wales, was sentenced to three years in prison for his involvement in large-scale fraud against the NDIS. He faced charges in the Sydney Downing District Court for dealing with proceeds of crime exceeding $1 million.

This man was part of a Western Sydney crime syndicate involving five individuals, charged in April 2021 for submitting fraudulent NDIS claims totaling over $10 million.

Operation Pegasus was launched by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in December 2020. It’s a collaboration with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), AUSTRAC, and Services Australia, targeted several suspected fraudulent NDIS providers in Western Sydney.

In April 2021, AFP officers, forensic specialists, and more than 50 members from partner agencies conducted a series of operations across Sydney, resulting in the arrests of five men and one woman.

The investigation revealed that the syndicate operated through three companies to submit false claims to the NDIS. The convicted man facilitated the withdrawal of illicit funds amounting to $2,197,050 from a bank account on behalf of these companies.

2. Disability provider accused of $1 million NDIS scandal

In March 2024, a dubious disability provider was accused of billing taxpayers $1 million in fraudulent claims through the NDIS in just one month. The provider is believed to be part of a larger criminal network. He allegedly used coercive tactics to facilitate these claims through legitimate NDIS participants.

In recent weeks, NDIS investigators found that the provider used 50 different Australian Business Numbers (ABNs) to charge for fake services. The fraudulent activities were meticulously documented in a notebook, with details written in biro. An extract from this notebook shows that $940,632 was accumulated in just 30 days, including a single transaction worth $496,000.

3. Sydney NDIS scandal – Occupational therapist jailed for $500, 000 fraud

Rehana Memon, an occupational therapist, was sentenced to six years in jail in June 2024 for defrauding the NDIS of half a million dollars.

The 42-year-old woman was arrested by the AFP at her Auburn home in 2020 after an investigation that began in June that year. Operation Pavo, an NDIS Fraud Taskforce investigation, looked into claims that the healthcare practitioner falsified reports, overcharged for services, and misused NDIS funds, neglecting her clients’ needs.

It’s also alleged she colluded with other NDIS healthcare professionals to inflate the value of her services. Investigators seized electronic devices and documents for further examination. Several properties, bank accounts, and a vehicle were also restrained by the AFP as suspected proceeds of crime.

The woman was charged with 21 counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.

4. Victoria NDIS scandal – Man extorts $300,00

A Victorian man was sentenced to jail in July 2021 for defrauding the NDIS of over $300,000 by billing the provider for fake lawn mowing services.

Mitchell Landry, 23, from Ocean Grove, was described by a county court judge as an isolated, impulsive young man. He believed that having more money would impress people. Landry partially attributed his crimes to recovering from a gastric band operation after years of bullying for his weight.

In 2018, over a four-month period, Landry accessed the accounts of 24 NDIS participants, including some in NSW. He created fake bookings for “house and yard maintenance” that the participants never requested, and he never performed the work.

Landry billed the NDIS and collected more than $342,000. He used the money to buy three houses in Bendigo and a Mercedes vehicle. The County Court heard that Landry had paid back the money in full and was remorseful.

5. ‘Worst NDIS provider in history’ – Denise Clissold

Denise Clissold, the founder of Coast Community, stands accused of mismanaging funds meant for people with disabilities. She caused several clients to become homeless and without necessary support services​.

Clissold’s company allegedly owes millions to the NDIA, employees, and the Australian Taxation Office. Despite these issues, Clissold continued to claim NDIS funds through other providers’ portals. This raises questions about the effectiveness of current fraud prevention measures.

An investigation into Clissold’s NDIS scandal in June 2024 revealed a pattern of financial mismanagement and fraud. This included claims that she used NDIS funds for personal expenses. This has led to widespread calls for stronger regulatory actions to prevent such abuses within the NDIS.

Reporting an NDIS scandal

For more information on NDIS fraud, check out our resources:

Insurance for your independence

Having quality mobility equipment that suits your unique needs is vitally important to your independence. Quality insurance cover for it is vital too, in our opinion.

Blue Badge Insurance offers mobility scooter insurance and wheelchair insurance to cover your goods for damage or loss. We also provide affordable insurance for wheelchair accessible vehicles and disability converted cars, plus up to 25% off disability car insurance. This applies to all disability parking permit holders – even if you haven’t modified your car.

Contact us today to get a quote.

Pick any layout option below:

What would you like a quote for?