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Nine people linked to motorcycle gangs have been arrested after allegedly defrauding more than $ 100,000 in wildfire relief funds.

At least one member and eight others with ties to Illegal Motorcycle Gang (OMCG) were arrested and charged with allegedly obtaining an illegal grant through a New South Wales government grant scheme aimed at helping victims of the 2019-2020 wildfire disaster.

Nine people with ties to motorcycle gangs arrested for allegedly defrauding more than $ 100,000 in wildfire relief funds. (New South Wales Police)

Police allege the group made a total of $ 700,000 in claims that resulted in the award of grants worth $ 113,000.

Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow said the crimes are particularly heinous given the scale of the devastation and tragedy suffered by the people of New South Wales after the crisis.

“This is a very disturbing incident,” said Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow.

“The wildfires completely destroyed thousands of homes, schools, community facilities and other critical infrastructure and tragically claimed the lives of 26 people, including three volunteers from the Rural Fire Service.”

Police issued 11 search warrants in the Sydney and Southern Highlands region. (New South Wales Police)
Those arrested include several individuals with ties to the outlawed motorcycle gang Rebels. (New South Wales Police)

“Unfortunately, the aftermath of this tragedy was many small businesses that were badly affected and funding from the federal government was put in place to provide some relief.

“Unfortunately, there are segments of society that will choose to use situations like these to gain personal financial advantage, and it is not surprising that this time the suspected criminals have ties to illegal motorcycle gangs.”

Police executed 11 search warrants in Greater Sydney and Southern Highlands during a two-day operation yesterday and today.

During the searches, officers seized cash, prohibited drugs such as ecstasy, cannabis, methylamphetamine (ice), and steroids, as well as a number of documents and electronic devices.

Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow addresses the media after nine people linked to the OMCG motorcycle gang were arrested for defrauding the government with more than $ 100,000 in wildfire relief funds. (9News)

During the two-day operation, nine people, six men between 25 and 30 years old and three women between 25 and 37 years old, were detained.

Police said two more people will be arrested and charged at the end of the day.

Police believe the fraudulent operation was spearheaded by setting up bogus businesses and claiming losses as a result of the fires.

The money was allegedly used for a variety of illegal activities, including online gambling and subscriptions to porn sites.

Nine people with ties to motorcycle gangs arrested for allegedly defrauding more than $ 100,000 in wildfire relief funds. (New South Wales Police)

“This type of behavior … shows that they will not miss any opportunity to make money out of other people’s misfortune,” said Detective Superintendent Robert Critchlow.

“We are very pleased that these individuals are now in court and would like to thank Service NSW for their help with our investigation,” said Detective Critchlow.

More than 2,400 families and small businesses continue to receive support from the aid program to help in the aftermath of the wildfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.


www.9news.com.au

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