Three Sydney estate agents charged over $2million in Covid drug scam
Three Sydney estate agents have been arrested for a $2million drug and Covid scam.
The three Sydney-based estate agents are among six people involved in a fraudulent scheme that used other people’s names to rent homes where they allegedly grew $2 million worth of cannabis.
The six are also said to have used those names to claim Covid relief payments.
A total of six people were charged on Wednesday over the alleged scheme, with police dismantling and seizing equipment used to create hydroponic cannabis growing systems in a number of homes in south-west Sydney last year.
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Police also seized nearly $2 million worth of cannabis.
Police say the group attempted to fraudulently claim a large sum of money under the Covid Residential Tenancy Support Package on several occasions.
Fairfield City Police Area Command Crime Officer Luke Scott said in a statement that the three real estate agents involved in the scheme took advantage of their positions for financial gain.
“We will allege that these individuals used their position as trusted insiders in the real estate industry to defraud their own clientele and public money intended for those who need it most,” he said.
“Properties allegedly used by this syndicate to grow cannabis were sublet to members of the public who were unaware that their names were on the lease agreement, as was the case with the tax reliefs. rent and security payments obtained fraudulently.
Mr Scott said the crime was particularly ‘predatory’ and that everyone involved would be brought to justice in court.
“The nature of this fraud is particularly outrageous and predatory; the community will not tolerate it, and those involved must now answer to our justice system.
The arrests include a 52-year-old real estate agent, a 44-year-old man, two 35-year-old men, a 37-year-old woman and a 23-year-old man.
The 52-year-old faces 10 counts, including participating in a criminal group and contributing to criminal activity, knowingly directing the activities of a criminal group, two counts of cultivating a criminal plant , two counts of dishonestly obtaining financial advantage by deception, making and using a false document to obtain financial advantage and two counts of knowingly handling the proceeds of crime.
The 44-year-old was charged with growing a banned plant and engaging in criminal activity.
Both men are due to appear in Fairfield Local Court at some point today.
One of the 35-year-old men faces nine charges while the second 35-year-old man faces three charges.
The 37-year-old estate agent faces eight charges and is due to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.
The 23-year-old faces four counts of growing a prohibited plant and one count of participating in a criminal group. He is due to appear in Fairfield Local Court on May 25.
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