Fraudulent horse trainer to repay almost $67,000

A horse trainer and his company have been ordered to pay back almost $67,000 after being caught defrauding Victoria's workers compensation scheme.

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Published: 15 February 2022

Bandora Breaking Pty Ltd was sentenced in the Warrnambool Magistrates' Court on Thursday after earlier pleading guilty to a single charge of fraudulently obtaining payments.

The company was fined $5,000 with conviction and ordered to pay costs of $3,814.

Director Adrian Ireland, 55, was fined $7,500 without conviction after pleading guilty to a single charge of failing to exercise due diligence to prevent the offence from occurring.

The court heard that Ireland had a claim accepted in March 2020 after being injured at work when a horse fell onto him, but initially wasn't entitled to weekly payments because he was receiving director’s fees instead of a salary.

In July 2020, a co-accused who worked for the company submitted a number of pay slips and a PAYG summary showing $68,304 in gross payments, falsely claiming Ireland's income had changed from director's fees to weekly wages prior to his injury.

The documents were accepted, resulting in a total of $66,896 being paid to Bandora based on the false information provided.

After Ireland failed to provide requested bank account statements, a WorkSafe investigation found there was no evidence of any wage payments matching the payslips.

WorkSafe Insurance Business Unit Executive Director Roger Arnold warned those who attempt to defraud the workers compensation scheme will face consequences.

"This type of behaviour undermines the scheme's ability to provide care and support to injured workers," Mr Arnold said.

"WorkSafe won't hesitate to prosecute anyone who tries to cheat the system, including those providing false records in order to obtain money they’re not entitled to."

The co-accused has been charged with three offences under the Workplace Injury Rehabilitation and Compensation Act and is set to face Hamilton Magistrates' Court on 27 April 2022.