Woman, 49, is accused of posing as a volunteer firefighter to scam $200,000 in support payments during last summer’s horror bushfire season
- Lithgow woman applied for 522 online claims of the firefighter support payment
- She was approved 34 of these applications, meaning she was paid $190,000
- Police allege the woman was never a firefighter and she was charged with fraud
A woman has been accused of lying about being a firefighter to scam almost $200,000 in support payments.
The 49-year-old from Lithgow, around 150km west of Sydney, allegedly made 522 online claims between January and June for the payments which compensated volunteers for their efforts during last summer’s bushfires.
She was granted 34 of the applications, meaning she was paid more than $190,000.
Police raided her home on Wednesday, arresting the woman and seizing clothes, electronics and her ID.
A 49-year-old woman has been accused of posing as a firefighter to scam $200,000 in support payments (pictured, NSW RFS firies battling a fire near Bilpin west of Sydney last December)
The 49-year-old had never worked as a volunteer firefighter and was charged with 34 counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception, and four counts of attempting to do so.
The Lithgow woman was granted bail under strict conditions and will appear in court on January 28.
The volunteer payment allowed firefighters to claim a maximum of $9,000 for their efforts in controlling the blazes that ripped across the country.
The 2019-2020 bushfire season was one of the worst in Australian history, burning across an estimated 18.6 million hectares of land and destroying almost 6,000 buildings, including 2,779 homes – as well as killing 33 people.
The 33 lives lost included 25 in NSW, three in South Australia and five in Victoria.