PAYROLL FRAUD: Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission have been called in to investigate a
PAYROLL FRAUD: Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission have been called in to investigate a "sophisticated and widespread" payroll fraud at one of Queensland's largest local authorities. Derrick Den Hollander

Council hit by 'sophisticated and widespread' payroll fraud

SUNSHINE Coast Council has been targeted by an alleged "sophisticated and widespread" payroll fraud but won't reveal how much money was involved.

A spokesperson said the matter had been detected in February and was an externally initiated fraud against the payroll arrangements for one officer. 

"The matter was thoroughly investigated by council and has been reported to the appropriate authorities who are continuing to pursue their own investigations," the spokesperson said.

Those appropriate authorities did not include Sunshine Coast Police, with Detective Senior Sergeant Daren Edwards saying it had no knowledge of any local police investigation.

The council spokesperson said the council was "not at liberty to disclose anything further at this point as it may compromise the investigations by these authorities".

"A range of new controls was immediately initiated to prevent future incident or loss," he said.

The alleged fraud was acknowledged in the May 27 Audit Committee discussion points which noted "the fraud was sophisticated and widespread".

A council spokesperson said in relation to such incidents the council was required to notify the Department of Local Government, Racing and Multicultural Affairs; the Queensland Audit Office; and the Crime and Corruption Commission. 

"All notifications were made," the spokesperson said.

"In addition, council notified the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network, which in turn has notified the Queensland Police Service."  

The council's audit committee notes said it was important to learn lessons more broadly with a no blame culture.

Awareness and training was being rolled out across the organisation and control measures had been reinforced.

"Management actions and comprehensive response to the significant payroll deficiency was commended," the Audit Committee noted.

The Crime and Corruption Commission has been contacted for comment.



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